UNHCR is an abbreviation for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHCR is tasked with protecting and supporting refugees at the request of either the United Nations or a member government of the United Nations. The agency assists refugees with voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.

In 1957 and again in 1967 the UN High Commissioner for Refugees determined that Jews fleeing Arab countries were refugees who fell within the UNHCR mandate.

In February 1957 during the aftermath of the October 1956 Gulf of Suez Crisis between Israel and Egypt Auguste Lindt, who was then the High Commissioner for Refugees in a report to the United Nations Refugee Fund stated that “Another emergency problem is now arising: that of refugees from Egypt. There is no doubt in my mind that those refugees from Egypt who are not able, or not willing to avail themselves of the protection of the Government of their nationality fall under the mandate of my office.” The refugees from Egypt he was referring to were Jews fleeing Egypt after being persecuted during the Suez Crisis.

In July, 1967 Dr. E. Jahn from UNHCR drafted a letter which confirmed that the United Nations considered Jews fleeing persecution in Arab countries as refugees who again fell under the UNHCR mandate: “I refer to our recent discussion concerning Jews from Middle Eastern and North African countries in consequence of recent events. I am now able to inform you that such persons may be considered prima facie within the mandate of this Office.”