Refugee protection has been an activity of the United Nations (UN) - and specifically of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) - for fifty years. We have had many successes, and also some painful failures. Among others I will never forget the Vietnamese boat people who drowned in Southeast Asia, or the Rwandan refugees who died in the Congo.
Despite the failures, over recent decades tens of millions of refugees have been given asylum and basic protection. Over 135 states are now party to the UN Refugee Convention and Protocol, giving something approaching universal protection.