The 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees and its 1967 Protocol are the foundations of the international refugee system and provide the the legal foundation of helping refugees and the basic statute guiding UNHCR's work. Although the Convention and the Protocol have been signed or ratified by the great majority of the world’s nations, there are still 43 members of the United Nations that have neither signed nor ratified either of them. Some of these non-parties host important refugee populations.
The reasons for not being party to the Convention or its Protocol are varied but the fact of not being a party affects, for example, the ability of UNHCR to work with and in that state and, importantly, the liability of that state to comply with international humanitarian standards.
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