UNHCR chosen for Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2015

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Who: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
What: Chosen for 2015 Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development
When: 19 November 2015
Why: For its humanitarian work

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was on 19 November 2015 chosen for the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2015.

A decision in this regard was taken by the international jury of the prize, headed by Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari on the occasion of birth annniversary of Indira Gandhi.

The UNHCR was chosen for the award in recognition of its immense contributions in assisting millions of refugees in their rehabilitation and resettlement.

Contributions of UNHCR

• It was established on 14 December 1950 by the UN General Assembly with a mandate to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.
• Its headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland and operates in 123 countries across the world.
• Since its inception, it has helped tens of millions of refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and stateless people.
• Its ongoing work in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and the Mediterranean region to deal with the European Migration Crisis has been appreciated worldwide.
In India, it has been working closely for decades with the governmentin identifying refugees and their rehabilitation and resettlement.
• In the absence of a national legal framework for refugees, UNHCR conducts refugee status determination under its mandate for asylum seekers who approach the Office.

• Based on this documentation, refugees can apply for long term visas (LTVs), work permits, access to education facilities, etc with the Government of India.
• For its humanitarian work worldwide, so far it has won two Nobel Peace Prizes, once in 1954 and again in 1981.
• At present, Antonio Guterres is the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development

• It is the prestigious annual award accorded annually by Indira Gandhi Trust since 1986.
• It is presented to individuals or organizations in recognition of creative efforts towards promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order.
• It also ensures that the scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity, and enlarging the scope of freedom.
• It is presented by the President of India and carries a cash award of 25 lakh rupees and a citation.
• Notable recipients of the award- Mikhail Gorbachev (1987), UNICEF (1989), Rajiv Gandhi (1991), M S Swaminathan (1999), Kofi Annan (2003), Ela Bhatt (2011) and Angel Merkel (2013).
• For 2014, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) received the award.