UNHCR

women and children looking up at aid helicopter

UNHCR asked youth to draw in solidarity with refugees amid the pandemic. They received 2,000 drawings from 100 countries, chose seven and brought them to life.

Actress and UNHCR Good Will Ambassador Cate Blanchett explains the causes and consequences of statelessness. She outlines what barriers a stateless person may experience, even without any displacement, to leading a normal life.

The UN Refugee Agency presents Nabil Attard, a refugee chef from Syria, lived through a crisis in his home country. Now living in France, he delivers for those on the frontlines during a crisis in his new country.

A woman carries a water jug on her head.

The UN refugee agency brings us the story of Salwa Atoo, a mother of seven with a no-nonsense attitude, who is the neighbourhood’s conflict mediator. It all began when she deescalated an argument at a water pump at a site for Internally Displaced Persons in Juba, South Sudan, where long lines in the hot sun often lead to short tempers and jostling. Then she staged an intervention for an alcoholic neighbour and helped a woman access medical care following a sexual assault.

UNHCR is alarmed at the increasing number of violent attacks on displaced civilians by armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). UNHCR is calling on the authorities to strengthen the presence of police, military forces with support of MONUSCO to improve the security situation. Over five million people have been uprooted by insecurity within the country’s borders, while nearly a million Congolese have sought safety in neighbouring countries as refugees.

People sitting on the floor and talking inside a temporary structure.

Cate Blanchett was inspired and impassioned by her work and experiences as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to shine a light on what loss of identity can mean.

A man and a woman look over a notebook.

Behind the counter of her small convenience store in a rundown neighbourhood of Tripoli, northern Lebanon, 35-year-old Kawkab Mustafa keeps a list of debts owed to her by customers she has allowed to buy goods on credit. In recent months, the list has grown so long she needs four separate notebooks to record all the entries. UNHCR shows us how the arrival of COVID-19 and restrictions to contain its spread in March have brought further misery to both Lebanese locals and Syrian refugees, leaving many unable to work and pushing them closer to the brink of destitution.

 

A woman tends to tree sapplings.

A thick water pipe snakes its way from Sudan’s White Nile River for over two kilometres, pumping into a large reservoir in Al Jabalain locality, where thousands of saplings are growing. The tree nursery has a capacity to produce 200,000 saplings a year – the fruit of a partnership between the Sudan’s forestry body, the Forests National Corporation (FNC), and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Refugees and their hosts together plant one million trees in a massive reforestation drive in Sudan’s White Nile State.

Venezuelan refugees and migrants collect blankets

As Latin America emerges as the new epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, warns of worsening conditions for displaced Venezuelans in the southern region of the continent as winter approaches. In addition to health risks, COVID-related lockdowns and confinement measures have already resulted in severe hardship for Venezuelan refugee and migrants. Many have now lost their livelihoods and are faced with poverty, destitution, eviction, widespread hunger and food insecurity as well as increased protection risks. With the approaching cold weather, UNHCR is bracing for a deepening of the crisis. 

Portrait of a woman.

Uganda hosts 1.4 million refugees – more than 80,000 of them live and work in Kampala. Refugees who opt to live outside designated settlements are expected to be self-reliant and do not receive regular humanitarian assistance, in line with the government’s urban refugee policy. UNHCR tells the story of Mariney Karemere, a Congolese refugee who made and sold her handbags before the lockdown. The single mother of three now survives on food handouts from a community church.

Two kids on a bunkbed sitting up.

As the Coronavirus pandemic spreads through Latin America, the UN Refugee Agency is warning that many displaced indigenous communities are now dangerously exposed and at risk. National lockdowns have also ground to a halt many of their livelihood activities, such as farming, the selling of produce and handicraft production. UNHCR works with national governments to ensure COVID-19 prevention measures and assistance reaches remote areas where these groups have found safety.

Internally displaced people at a camp in Democratic Republic of the Congo

The number of people fleeing conflict or violence but remaining within their own countries has reached an all-time high. 8.5 million new displacements resulting from conflict or violence were recorded in 2019. Another 25 million were triggered by disasters such as cyclones and hurricanes. UNHCR speaks with the Director of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre about internal displacement and her chief concerns in 2020, especially in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

Portrait of a male nurse in a hospital corridor

Moheyman Alkhatavi is an Iraqi refugee who works as a nurse at a hospital in Abadan, Iran. He is part of a team of dedicated nurses working tirelessly on rotation to monitor some 50 new patients admitted to the quarantine unit each week while they await COVID-19 test results. There are close to one million refugees in Iran, mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq. From the onset of the pandemic, the Government of Iran has made efforts to ensure refugees have access to health services.

Silhouette of woman's profile in front a red light

COVID-19 is taking lives and changing communities but the virus is also inducing massive protection risks for women and girls forced to flee their homes. Confinement policies and quarantines have led to restricted movement, reduced community interaction, the closure of services and worsening socio-economic conditions. UNHCR warns that these factors are significantly exacerbating the risks of intimate partner violence, especially for displaced and stateless women and girls.