United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Pablo Zapata Representative

UNHCR works to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home. UNHCR provides vital assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people, many of whom have nobody left to turn to.UNHCR strive to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to eventually return home, integrate or resettle.

During times of displacement, we provide critical emergency assistance in the form of clean water, sanitation and healthcare, as well as shelter, blankets, household goods and sometimes food. We also arrange transport and assistance packages for people who return home, and income-generating projects for those who resettle.

  • IN Albania, UNHCR works closely with the Directorate for Asylum and Border and Migration Police to strengthen access to asylum and provision of safeguards during status determination procedures, particularly access to information and legal representation.
  • Access to territory and asylum, issuance of documentation and the development of a national action plan on asylum in line with international and EU standards are the protection priorities of the office.
  • UNHCR is maintaining an increased presence at the southern border, both directly and through partners, to enhance its border monitoring capacity, promote coordination of relevant actors at local and national levels and improve identification and referrals of persons with specific needs in the context of mixed arrivals of migrants and refugees. Out of 915 interceptions by BMP in 2016, 72% were from refugee producing countries, 240 asked for asylum, 416 persons were interviewed and profiled by UNHCR and its partner.

Reception / Shelter

  • UNHCR supports the National Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers for the provision of shelter, food and basic non-food items –
  • UNHCR have constructed an additional new building that will double the capacity of the National Asylum Centre and improve reception standards


  • All persons of concern have been issued public health cards and have access to primary and secondary health care.


  • 37% of refugees are children and public education is accessible for refugees and asylum seekers. UNHCR have assisted all children with the payment of the school fees, school materials and uniforms.

Durable Solutions

  • Participatory assessments show that local integration and resettlement are the preferred durable solutions for the majority of refugees and asylum-seekers currently residing in Albania. 
  • Issuance of documentation is a key priority in order to facilitate local integration, including access to rights, services and the workforce
  • UNHCR is providing language courses, vocational training and cash assistance to facilitate local integration  and is working to develop partnerships with development partners
  • UNHCR assists persons of concern with independent submissions to third countries and facilitate administrative procedures on a case by case basis for readmissions and family reunification


Focus Areas: Protection, Reception / Shelter, Health, Education and Durable Solutions


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