The critical challenge for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and for countries such as Australia is to ensure that the available refugee resettlement places are assigned to those who are in greatest relative need of resettlement, recognising that for many refugees there are other viable alternatives. Before considering Australia's more recent responses to the influx of unauthorised arrivals, it is important to recognise the size and nature of the refugee problem. Australia has developed a government strategy to address the problem of unauthorised arrivals and organised people smuggling. The government's commitment to the maintenance of the international protection system is matched by its commitment to provide protection to those people within Australia who are owed protection obligations under the Refugees Convention – no matter how they have arrived. In the past 50 years the UNHCR has made significant contributions to the protection of refugees and supporting the international system of protection.