When it comes to the issue of protection, we immediately think about human rights abuses, about people fleeing their own countries against their will in the search of place where they could be safe. Governments normally guarantee the basic human rights and physical security of their citizens. But when people become refugees, and political contradictions, this safety net disappears.
Refugees fleeing war or persecution can be very vulnerable. They have no protection from their own state and it is often their own government that is persecuting them. If other countries do not let them in or protect them, they may be condemned to an intolerable situation where their basic rights, security and even their lives are in danger.
Orpe Human Rights Advocates supports the mission of UNHCR and congratulates the wonderful work this organization is doing for the benefit of displaced people. OHRA supports the UNHCR of mission of upholding the basic human rights of uprooted or stateless people in their countries of asylum or habitual residence, ensuring that refugees will not be returned involuntarily to a country where they could face persecution. Longer term, UNHCR also helps refugees find solutions, by repatriating voluntarily to their homeland, integrating in countries of asylum or resettling in third countries.
In many countries, the staff UNHCR works alongside with Orpe Human Rights Advocates and other partners in a variety of locations ranging from capital cities to remote camps and border areas. They attempt to promote or provide legal and physical protection, and minimize the threat of violence – including sexual assault – which many refugees are subject to, even in countries of asylum. They also seek to provide at least a minimum of shelter, food, water and medical care in the immediate aftermath of any refugee exodus.
Providing emergency help to those forced to flee is often the first step towards long-term protection and rehabilitation. To meet these and other operational needs, OHRA is expected to develop a global network of suppliers, specialist agencies and partners. Projects can range from dispatching emergency teams to the scene of a crisis, providing emergency food, shelter, water, and medical supplies. Among a host of other programs, there are projects to help protect the environment, build schools and raise awareness of such problems as HIV/AIDS.
Promoting Human Rights
Our activities to advance human rights include:
Partnering with UNHCR in promoting accession to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. In 1999, UNHCR launched a campaign to promote accession to the 1951 Convention that culminated on its 50th anniversary in July 2001 and the Ministerial Meeting of States Parties to the 1951 Convention on 12 and 13 December 2001.
Influencing change in policies to adequate them within the spirit of rule of law..
Providing training to strengthening relevant administrative and judicial institutions, training staff of government and non-governmental agencies, and liaising with relevant human rights bodies.
Orpe Human Rights Advocates is also involved in:
Research and advice on new laws and regulations affecting people of concern
Technical and financial support for law schools, governmental agencies (including the police and the military) and other institutes to develop courses that promote the spirit of rule of law
The link between movements of refugees and broader migration attracts growing attention.
A series of legal research and protection policy papers issued by the UNHCR Division of International Protection.
Up-to-date information about programmes and operations, including funding level and donor contributions, in the countries we work in.