The study examines changing policy doctrines for protecting refugees, as reflected in the official documents of UNHCR and its Executive Committee (ExCom) composed of nation states. Collectively, the two bodies determine what is legitimate international practice for protecting refugees within the framework of international law and which should constitute the point of departure for national asylum policies. To contextualize the changing doctrines, the structure and working procedures of UNHCR are examined (section 1), as well as major trends in international refugee movements (section 2). The major part of the study examines the discourse on protection strategies in the 1990s. While the specific issues varied, the study found that the overarching theme was the need to safeguard the institution of asylum which was increasingly in danger.