Germany’s Role in UNHCR

Larissa Correa is an International Relations student at Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais (BR). She is conducting research on drug trafficking in Latin America through a Junior Scientific Initiation Program. Her main interests are in the area of human rights and refugees.  To contact:

Brazil | June 27, 2020 | Student Essay

Germany is a country that has an extremely important and relevant role in the international context. Being one of the biggest European powers today. In addition, the country is one of the main focuses of immigrants in Europe, being one of the states that concentrates most refugees and immigrants, and has one of the largest refugee camps. Therefore, this prospective article will discuss the importance of Germany to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In addition to a significant number of immigrants and refugees in the country and its population being quite diverse with different ethnicities. Germany, according to the UNHCR website with data for 2019, is its second largest state donor, helping to maintain the high commission, evidencing the significant relationship that the country has with the UNHCR and its relationship with refugees. Besides, it is the largest host country in the European Union. German support allows UNHCR to help many displaced people and refugees, including in countries like South Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Venezuela (which are places that are in crisis and home to a majority of refugees). His collaboration goes beyond financial, being one of the supporting states of the “Global Compact on Refugees”. Being an essential support. Its capital, Berlin is one of the examples of a multicultural city, and the new home and restart for several immigrants and refugees (UNHCR, 2019).

This country is one of the countries with the highest refugee flow in Europe, and consequently, Berlin has been one of the cities that receives more refugees and immigrants Because of that, Berlin needs an infrastructure to receive it. The first step that refugees need to take when they arrive in Berlin is to register, if the refugee requests an asylum, his first stop is the “Ankunftszentrum center”. During this asylum process, the immigrant must first register as an asylum applicant with the State Secretariat for Refugee Affairs at Bundesallee 171. Secondly, the refugees need to apply for asylum at the Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees – Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF). This process is very serious and can be long, during this period, refugees are housed in a short-term shelter ( BERLIN.DE, 2020). 

In relation to the integration of refugees and work, learning German is the first challenge they need to deal with. In Berlin, it has twelve adult education centers, called “Volkshochschulen”, they offer special classes and basic levels to start the inclusion process. The State provides educational advice from “Lernnetz”, which can help the refugee get some work according to their experiences and their curriculum, gathering information about skills and creating a career perspective for refugees ( BERLIN.DE, 2020).

Looking to immigration data, we can say that Berlin is an multicultural and multiethnic city where a lot of people from different countries live there. According to statistik berlin brandenburg (2019), out of almost 3.8 million inhabitants, 542 975 are germans with a migration background, and there are in total 777 345 foreigners in the city. The nationality of the foreigners is also quite homogeneous, but are mostly europeans, involving countries from inside and outside the european union. Europeans from outside the EU are mostly from the former soviet union, and Polish people are the european ones that migrated most to Berlin, with almost 58 000 immigrants in the city. However, the biggest foreign community is from Turkey with 98 000 turkish people living in Berlin in 2018; that is why asian foreigners occupy a big percent too. Other asian immigrants can be Syrian or Iranian (mostly from arab countries). The percentage of african, american and oceanian people is much lower ( BERLIN.DE, 2020).


So, the importance of Germany in the UNHCR is noticeable, and how the country contributes to the issue of refugees, which today is one of the main agendas. Their collaboration can reflect and influence other countries, especially the other European countries of the European Union, helping the refugee community more.

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BERLIN.DE. Refugees. 2020. Available at:

UNHCR.  Germany in UNHCR. 2019. Available

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