The UN High Commission on Refugees was created 60 years ago today to care for European refugees after World War Two. Today, it looks after 43 million people around the world.
From only 34 staff members when UNHCR was founded, it now has more than 7,200 national and international members of staff, including 705 in UNHCR’s Geneva headquarters. The agency works in 126 countries, with staff based in more than 100 main locations such as regional and branch offices and some 150 often remote sub-offices and field offices.
The budget has grown from US$300,000 in its first year to more than US$3 billion in 2010. UNHCR now deals with more than 43 million people of concern: 27.1 million internally displaced people, 15.2 million refugees, 6.6 million stateless people and more than 983,000 asylum seekers. As UNHCR starts its seventh decade, the humanitarian needs are unlikely to disappear.