What is the role of UNHCR in Belgium?
As already mentioned on this page, in Belgium, the authorities have the responsibility to process international protection claims and decide whether a person is in need of protection and can therefore receive a residence permit in Belgium.
Therefore, UNHCR in Belgium does not:
- receive nor process applications for international protection
- receive nor process resettlement applications (to Belgium or other countries)
- process applications for voluntary return,
- provide accommodation, social or financial assistance,
- issue refugee documents (including civil/travel documents).
On the other pages of this help-page, you can find the relevant authority/organization that can assist you with the above requests.
The main activities of UNHCR in Belgium include:
Protection (monitoring, capacity-building and advocacy) activities:
- Advising international protection institutions and relevant actors (lawyers, social workers, NGOs, etc.) on refugee law and legislative processes related to international protection and statelessness – to ensure that they comply with international legal standards;
- Assisting national institutions and civil society in building capacity;
- Advocating for comprehensive measures so that persons of concern can effectively benefit from the rights guaranteed by international, regional and national frameworks;
- Raising awareness of the rights and obligations of refugees to stakeholders, national institutions, and civil society;
- Informing refugees, applicants of international protection and stateless persons about their rights and obligations, and assisting them;
- In exceptional cases, intervening in court proceedings that are precedent-setting for the international protection of refugees.
- Advising authorities and NGOs on ways in which refugees who have been granted international protection can be helped to integrate into Belgium.
- UNHCR in Belgium proactively engages with companies, foundations and philanthropists interested in contributing to innovative solutions in addressing the challenges faced by refugees.
- Organizing events and initiatives together with cultural, political, sports partners and other private-sector organizations to promote the work of UNHCR.
- Promoting visibility of UNHCR’s work and advocating for people of concern to UNHCR by sharing inspiring stories about refugees via its website unhcr.org and through social media: UNHCR Belgium’s Facebook, and Twitter (@UNHCRBelgique and @UNHCRBelgië).
- Maintaining relationships with local media and closely monitoring the national press.
For more information on our activities, please visit our website at: https://www.unhcr.org/be/