Procedural Protections, Gaps and Proposals for Reform
Chapter 5: UNHCR and refugee status determination
UNHCR is a UN special programme that is tasked with international protection. As part of its role UNHCR undertakes, along with States, the administrative decision-making process of determining whether an asylum seeker should be declared a refugee. Despite the challenges of its scope, UNHCR is alive to the importance of administrative justice, to which the publication of a comprehensive guide to procedural standards in its own Refugee Status Determination (RSD) is testament. However, the vulnerability of the subjects of its decisions, the sensitivity of the subject matter and the difficulties of dealing with States that often act in their own self-interest have contributed to procedural gaps around transparency and a lack of independent and impartial review. The onus may not be on UNHCR to develop and fund a mechanism for independent review, but without it administrative justice within the context of RSD is incomplete.
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