Argentina Regional Office


The UNHCR Regional Office for Southern Latin America based in Buenos Aires covers operations in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

Operation: Opération: Argentina Regional Office



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Key Figures

2018 planning figures
90% of status determination procedures will meet UNHCR’s minimum procedural standards
90% of resettlement programmes in new or emerging resettlement countries have been established or improved
87% of domestic laws on protection of stateless persons will be consistent with international standards
83% of refugees realize social and economic integration 
2016 end-year results
80% of people of concern had formal access to work opportunitites in host country
68% of people of concern opting for local integration were locally integrated
5 out of the 6 countries covered by the Regional Office have taken steps to become party to the Statelessness Conventions

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2017 241,989
2016 20,175
2015 10,428


[["Refugees",8381],["Asylum-seekers",52570],["Returned refugees",1],["Others of concern",181037]]
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Argentina Regional Office

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2017 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[4.3909691,4.38205254,5.149656436,4.81551835,6.07133593,12.09058992],"expenditure":[3.2805336,3.63853125,3.31968324,3.25705897,4.51617457,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[4.26466431,4.31963749,5.063435816,4.64695957,5.85626246,11.92184468],"p2":[0.12630479,0.06241505,0.08622062,0.16855878,0.21507347,0.16874524],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[3.15422915,3.57614911,3.23346262,3.10502305,4.30890492,null],"p2":[0.12630445,0.06238214,0.08622062,0.15203592,0.20726965,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Operational context

In 2017, the main challenges in the six countries covered by UNHCR’s Regional Office in Argentina were linked to the impact of the Venezuela situation with increased asylum claims and significant displacement in the region. Peru was most affected by the crisis, with more than 20,000 pending asylum applications estimated by the end of 2017. Local integration strategy continues to be promoted to guarantee effective protection environment for people of concern. Argentina, Chile and Uruguay demonstrated continuous solidarity with refugee crises worldwide by implementing resettlement programmes.

Population trends

At the end of 2017, there were some 36,100 people of concern in the region, of whom 36 per cent were female. This figure, however, does not include statistical information on the last six months of the year for Bolivia and Peru. Considering the influx of Venezuelans in Peru, the total number of people of concern in the six countries was estimated at 49,800, an increase of 121 per cent from 2016. 

Key achievements

  • 249 refugees were resettled to Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay in the frame of the Emerging Resettlement Countries Joint Support Mechanism (ERCM).
  • UNHCR established its presence in Peru and strengthened presence in border areas, consolidating the response to the Venezuela situation.
  • National consultations, including participatory assessments, were held in all six countries for the evaluation of the Brazil Plan  of Action
  • A project law for accession to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness was approved by Parliament in Chile which will formally adhere soon.
  • 158 persons at risk of statelessness were granted nationality in Chile in the frame of the Chile Reconoce project.
  • More than 1,500 interviews with media were conducted, increasing UNHCR’s visibility in the region.

Unmet needs

  • Limited  presence and funds  in Peru did not allow for UNHCR to respond adequately to the Venezuela situation
  • Funds to support, expand and consolidate border protection strategies would have increased the Office’s capacity to assess and monitor the overall protection situation in the region  

Working environment

UNHCR’s Regional Office in Argentina covers activities in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

UNHCR works in a relatively stable environment with consolidated democratic regimes after a decade of economic expansion.  A flexible migratory system is in place within MERCOSUR facilitating the mobility and residence of citizens from the region.  However, the countries covered under UNHCR’s office in Buenos Aires are currently facing pressing economic and social challenges due to the global economic crisis.  

Within the context of a favorable human rights environment and a flexible migration policy, characterized by strong legal protection frameworks, migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in the region benefit from favorable access to economic, social and cultural rights. Local integration remains a challenge, particularly in terms of access to adequate housing and employment. UNHCR will continue to strengthen its strategic partnerships with government counterparts to consolidate an effective protection space in the region.  

In 2015, the Government of Argentina and UNHCR renewed their agreement on the free provision of the office’s premises for the following 15 years. Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay increased their support towards local integration by providing humanitarian assistance either in-kind or in cash to refugees, asylum-seekers. 

Key priorities

•    In line with its Protection and Solutions Strategy for the Southern Cone (2015-2017), UNHCR will prioritize advocacy and technical support to the governments in the region to help them develop, consolidate and take leadership in the implementation of respective National Integration Plans. The active involvement of the National Committees for Refugees (CONARE) will be key for the promotion of public policies benefitting people of concern, and for the expansion of networks with civil society and the private sector. Local partners will also be supported.
•    In Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru, UNHCR and governments will aim at strengthening refugee status determination processes through the pursuit and implementation of the Quality Assurance Initiative.
•    The network of Cities of Solidarity, launched in 2016, will be consolidated to facilitate the exchange of good practices on local integration of refugees and to improve the living conditions of persons concern in the region. 
•    UNHCR will continue to support the Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay to build capacity for sustainable national resettlement programmes and other forms of admission, such as humanitarian visas (in Peru and Argentina), for refugees and people in need of international protection from the region and beyond.