UNHCR in Central Europe
The Regional Representation for Central Europe
UNHCR has been present in the Central European region since the beginning of the 1990s, in Budapest since 1989. Sixteen years later, the UN Refugee Agency established a Regional Representation for Central Europe in Budapest as part of reorganization in Europe. From the Budapest Office, the organization initially coordinated and oversaw UNHCR’s operations in four countries of the region: Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. In 2008, Romania and Bulgaria, joined the region, and the Czech Republic in 2009.
Today, the Regional Representation for Central Europe covers 7 countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Except for Slovakia and Slovenia, a representation or a national office are in each country. There are also two field offices, in Timisoara (Romania) and in Humenné (Slovakia) to ensure the effective operation of the Emergency Transit Centres for resettlement.
The role of the Regional Representation for Central Europe is to assist, advise and advocate with governments and NGO partners to:
- Safeguard the effective access of asylum-seekers to EU territory and asylum procedures at the external borders of the Union;
- Continuously monitor and improve the living conditions of asylum-seekers in reception centres and other refugee facilities and make sure that they are treated with respect for their age, gender, diversity and special needs;
- Ensure that Refugee Determination Procedures are fair and efficient and that asylum legislation and the work of asylum authorities are in accordance with international legal standards;
- Seek to facilitate durable solutions through functioning integration and resettlement policies and promote a social climate that is welcoming towards refugees and rejects xenophobic and racist attitudes.
The Regional Representation also takes an active part in mapping the problem of statelessness and promoting the reduction of such cases across the region.
All its activities are accompanied by public information, public awareness and external relations initiatives, including eight websites on the region and its countries, in order to support a rights-based approach towards solutions for the displaced.
In addition to its advisory and advocacy work, the Regional Representation carries out programme and operational management and most of the administrative, financial and oversight functions for the countries covered.