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UNHCR’s RSD policy: Quick guide

In September 2005, UNHCR published a set of guidelines — Procedural Standards for RSD under UNHCR’s Mandate — governing refugee status determination by UNHCR field offices. The standards had been issued internally to UNHCR field offices in 2003. Each UNHCR office is responsible for developing operating procedures to implement the standards, which represent the most authoritative and comprehensive policy statement by the UN refugee agency on its own RSD procedures.

These Procedural Standards in some ways compliment the advice that UNHCR has given governments about fairness in RSD. But on at least three key issues – disclosure of evidence, providing reasons for rejection, and access to an independent appeal – UNHCR refused to hold itself to the same standards it advocates for others.

Quick reference guide to the Procedural Standards

Informing asylum-seekers about the process

Right to an interview

Refugees with special vulnerabilities

Right to an interpreter

Right to counsel

Conduct of RSD interviews

Access to evidence

Providing reasons for rejection

Right to an appeal

Cancellation of refugee status

Closed files (re-opening)

Complaint procedures

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