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International Refugee Assistance Organizations


World Food Programme (WFP)

Via Cristoforo Colombo 426, 00145 Rome, Italy. (39-6) 522821. FAX: (39-6) 5228-2837. Liaison Office at UN Headquarters: (212) 963-8364. FAX: (212) 963-8019.

The World Food Programme serves as the food aid organization of the United Nations. Its mandate is to use food aid to eradicate hunger and poverty. The World Food Programme provides food aid to save lives in refugee and other emergency situations, improve the nutrition and quality of life of the most vulnerable people at critical times of their lives, and to help build assets and promote self-reliant growth among poor people and communities. Its efforts reach about 50 million hungry and poor people annually. More than half of its beneficiaries are victims of disasters. The World Food Programme uses food aid in a way that is as developmental as possible, consistent with saving lives. The Programme considers the strengthening of opportunities and options for women as the key to the solution of the problems of hunger and poverty.


International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)

37-39 rue de Vermont, Case Postale 96, CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland. (41-22) 733-4150. FAX: (41-22) 734-7929. E-mail: In the U.S., 1319 F St., NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004. (202) 393-2904.

ICMC's mandate covers refugees, migrants, and internally displaced persons, regardless of creed. Its task is to coordinate Catholic assistance to these groups, and to play an advocacy role on their behalf. ICMC is headquartered in Geneva and operates through offices in 10 countries, through Regional Liaison Offices in 3 countries, and through a network of local Catholic agencies at grass-roots level in some 66 countries.

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

19 avenue de la Paix, CH-1202 Geneva, Switzerland. (41-22) 734-6001. FAX: (41-22) 733-2057. E-mail: op/ In New York: 801 Second Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10017. (212) 599-6021. FAX: (212) 599-6009. In Washington, D.C.: 2100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 545, Washington, DC 20037. (202) 293-9430. FAX: (202) 293-9431.

The International Committee of the Red Cross was the founder of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It is an independent, neutral organization with the internationally recognized role of humanitarian intermediary between belligerents during armed conflicts. ICRC promotes international humanitarian law. It protects and assists the victims of international and civil wars and of internal disturbances and tensions by providing medical aid, relief supplies, tracing, and information services for prisoners of war and missing persons, a service for transmission of family messages, and visits to civilian internees, prisoners of war, and political detainees. ICRC has observer status in the UN General Assembly. It has delegations in 53 countries.

International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA)

13 Rue Gautier, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland. Postal Address: C.P. 216, 1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland. (41-22) 732-6600. FAX: (41-22)738-9904. E-mail:

ICVA was founded in 1962 to provide a forum for voluntary agencies active in the fields of humanitarian assistance and development cooperation. At present, ICVA has 101 members comprising international and national voluntary agencies.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

17 chemin des Crêts, P.O.Box 372, CH-1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland. (41-22) 730-4222. FAX: (41-22) 733-0393. E-mail:

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies contributes to the humanitarian activities of 169 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. It coordinates disaster relief operations and encourages development support. It further cares for refugees and internally displaced persons outside areas of conflict and aims to promote peace in the world. In refugee and displaced persons situations, the Secretariat mobilizes the International Federation's own financial and in-kind contributions and health, social welfare, logistics, and managerial staff to supplement Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' and UNHCR's resources. Has observer status to the UN General Assembly.

International Organization For Migration (IOM)

17 route des Morillons, P.O.Box 71, CH-1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland. (41-22) 717-9111 FAX: (41-22) 798-6150. E-mail: Director General: James N. Purcell, Jr. New York: Andrew Bruce, 122 East 42nd Street, Suite 1610, Chanin Building, New York, NY 10168-1699. (212) 681-7000. Washington: Hans-Petter Boe, 1750 K Street, NW, Suite 1110, Washington, DC 20006.(202) 862-1826. Chicago: Pannee Peiffer, O'Hare Corporate Tower 1, 10400 West Higging Road, Suite 329, Rosemont, IL 60018. (708) 296-3583. Miami: Magda DaVarona, 4471 N.W. 36th Street, Suite 236, Miami Springs, FL 33166. (305) 885-5426. San Francisco: Duc Tran, 114 Sansome Street, Suite 1225, The Adam Grant Building, San Francisco, CA 94104. (415) 391-9796.

IOM was established in 1951 to arrange resettlement processing and transportation for refugees and migrants. It conducts related programs for medical screenings, language training, and cultural orientation. It further plans and implements programs for the transfer of specialized human resources through migration to developing countries. IOM also undertakes research projects and organizes international seminars on major migration themes. It is represented in 68 countries worldwide.

United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR)

Case Postale 2500, CH-1211 Geneva 2 Dépôt, Switzerland. (41-22) 739-8111. Liaison Office at UN Headquarters: One UN Plaza, DC1-2610 New York, NY 10017. (212) 963-0032. FAX: (212) 963-0074. E-Mail: Regional Office for the United States, 1775 K St., NW, Washington, DC 20006. (202) 296-5191. FAX: (202) 296-5660. E-mail:

UNHCR was established in 1951 as a humanitarian and non-political organization to provide international protection to refugees. It seeks durable solutions through repatriation of refugees to their homeland, integration of refugees in countries of first asylum, or resettlement of refugees to third countries. UNHCR also provides assistance to others forced to live in refugee-like situations. This category includes people who have been granted protection on purely humanitarian grounds, but who have not been formally recognized as refugees, or internally displace people who have fled from their homes but have not crossed an international border. Along with its protection role, UNHCR assists refugees by coordinating the provision of shelter, food, water, sanitation, and medical care in emergency situations. UNHCR also assists and monitors the reintegration of refugees who have recently returned to their own countries. With representation in some 119 countries, more that 26 million people fall under UNHCR's concern.

UNHCR Centre for Documentation and Research (CDR)

Case Postale 2500, CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland; street address: 62 rue de Vermont, 1202 Geneva. (41-22) 739-8488. FAX: (41-22) 739-7367. E-mail:

CDR provides access to its integrated library and computer-based information center containing hard copy and electronic format information relating to refugees, including country of origin information, human rights, minorities, national and international law, policy documents, and bibliographic references. CDR makes available information to the public through REFWORLD CD-ROM, a fully searchable database, and through its journal, the Refugee Survey Quarterly, published by Oxford University Press; both are available by subscription. CDR undertakes research for UNHCR and advises the agency on policy issues. It is also establishing a research network linking UNHCR more closely to the academic community. CDR further authors and coordinates the bi-annual State of the World's Refugees.

World Council of Churches Refugee and Migration Services

P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland. (41-22) 791-6111. FAX: (41-22) 788-0067. E-Mail:

World Council of Churches and Refugee Migration Services works with local churches in about 70 countries in support of their refugee and migration services, including both emergency and long-term assistance. Also, in cooperation with local churches, it advocates on behalf of refugees and migrants, provides public information and training, and facilitates meetings between churches on refugee and migration issues.

United Kingdom

European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)

Bondway House, 3-9 Bondway, London S.W.8., U.K. (44-171) 582-9928.

The European Council on Refugees and Exiles is an international forum for 60 nongovernmental organizations throughout Europe that assist refugees or are concerned with refugee and asylum policy. ECRE monitors national and international developments, promotes legal and information networks, and advocates progressive standards for the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. The European Legal Network on Asylum (ELENA), a forum for legal counselors, is a project activity of ECRE.

United States

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

3 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017. (212) 326-7000. FAX: (212) 888-7465.

UNICEF was established in 1946 to assist children of war-devastated Europe. It has expanded its role to meet the needs of children and women in the developing world with a basic services approach and community participation. UNICEF participates in humanitarian efforts of the UN system in countries affected by natural and man-made disasters. Its activities aim to meet the needs of children and women in the refugee and internally displaced population in the areas of health, nutrition, water supply and sanitation, basic education, and children in especially difficult circumstances.

United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA)

UN Headquarters, New York, NY 10017, USA. (212) 963-6821 (Information). FAX: (212) 963-1388. Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland. (41-22) 917-2142 (Information). Emergencies only (41-22) 917-2010. FAX: (41-22) 917-0023.

DHA was created in April 1992 to provide a rapid and coordinated response by the UN system to natural disasters and major complex emergencies. It serves as focal point for facilitating action on emergencies by coordinating UN action, fielding assessment missions, issuing appeals for funding humanitarian relief programs, publishing situation reports, monitoring status of donor contributions, etc. DHA incorporates the previous Office of the UN Disaster Relief Coordinator and the secretariat of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.


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