The United Nations Convention Relating to the status of Refugees is the cornerstone in the body of laws that establish standards for refugee protection. It is an international convention defining who is a refugee, setting out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum as well as the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum.

The convention was approved by the United Nations at a conference in 1951. In the beginning, the convention was limited to the post-World War ll European refugees, but in 1967 the scope of the Convention was expanded to encompass refugees internationally. The 1967 version of the Convention was ratified in Geneva and is therefore often referred to as "the Geneva Convention", though it is not one of the Geneva Conventions specifically dealing with allowable behaviour in time of war.

Today there are 147 signatories to the 1967 Convention Relation to the status of Refugees. You can download the full version of the Convention and other relevant steering documents in the box on the right.

You can also visit the following websites for more information on international refugee law:


Refugees Studies Centre

Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)