Displaced Persons and Refugees

A girl without a hand works with wire.

Hope and Beauty

a boy plays rolling a wheel with a stick

Solidarity amidst extreme hardship

Portrait of a family: father, mother, baby girl and young boy

As rains approach, the race is on to get aid to thousands seeking safety in a remote village in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. The insecurity and violence surrounding last December’s elections have forced over 100,000 people like him to flee – some into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad, the DRC and the Republic of the Congo, while around 100,000 people are displaced inside CAR. So far, UNHCR and its government partner have registered over 22,000 people and will update the population figures based on actual registrations.

People gathered on the beach with bags in front of a boat.

Ten crises to watch in 2021

Portrait of a woman.

In a data visualization project entitled ‘Livelihoods, food and futures: COVID-19 and the displaced,’ UNHCR collated statistics from numerous sources to shed more light on the effects of the pandemic on poor and vulnerable people. The storymap illustrates the drastic falls in levels of employment and income in within displaced communities since the onset of the pandemic. It also explores how families are coping to meet basic needs, in many cases forced to cut corners because of shrinking household budgets.

Illustration of three women against the globe.

Comprising roughly half of the world's 272 million migrants, UN Women features migrant women as agents of change and leaders who contribute to their countries of origin and destination.

A woman doing the dancer yoga pose.

For most people, 2020 cannot end soon enough. The COVID-19 pandemic has killed nearly 1.8 million people and caused extreme hardship. As the year comes to an end and vaccinations begin, many are hopeful the virus can be contained. But the socioeconomic effects of the pandemic could be felt for years – especially in the world’s least developed countries, where most of the world’s forcibly displaced people live.  The UN Refugee Agency remains hopeful. Forcibly displaced people have shown us what it means to be resilient, and what it takes to overcome a crisis.

Students discuss ideas to help refugees

At the beginning of 2020, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, challenged students to tackle issues related to forced displacement during their debates. The reward? Getting their best ideas shared with policy-makers. More than 20,000 students in 75 countries accepted the MUN Refugee Challenge. They collectively drafted “resolutions” which were reviewed by a panel of experts and young refugees. Here’s a summary of the winning ideas and some of the thinking behind them.

Evans Dims

Irrepressible comedian AK Dans was born in the world’s largest refugee camp,  Kukuma, in Kenya, after his mother fled South Sudan in the 1990s. 

A black and white photo portraying a family with children of all ages.

This month, the UN Refugee Agency turned 70 years old. For an organization that should have ceased to exist after three years, it is an uncomfortable birthday that it is not in the mood to celebrate. After WWII, UNHCR had the task of finding homes for Europe’s refugees. Brought into being on 1950, its mandate was time-limited and explicitly non-political, as if its existence was a reminder of miseries that were best swept away along with the rubble. Since, UNHCR has been called upon time and again to do whatever it can to protect vulnerable people uprooted from their homes.

Thirteen-year-old Syrian refugee

2020 will be a record low for refugee resettlement, UNHCR has warned. “We are dealing with a disappointingly low resettlement ceiling to begin with - a quota of less than 50,000 for the entire year - and this was further impacted by COVID-19 delaying departures and pausing some states’ resettlement programs,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs. According to latest UNHCR data, only 15,425 refugees were resettled from January to the end of September this year, compared to 50,086 over the same period last year. “Current rates point to one of the lowest levels of resettlement witnessed in almost two decades. This is a blow for refugee protection and for the ability to save lives and protect those most at risk,” said Triggs.

Kristin Davis and Sister Angelique Namaika

Sex and the City co-stars Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon chat about their go-to films for inspiration and what the world needs to fight the coronavirus. 

Artisan Kapya Kitungwa holds a wooden dove

Proud camels and peaceful doves: gifts with meaning

Cameras record a UN official interviewing another.

"This is why exile, refugee exile is so devastating, because it is the admission to oneself, that home is not safe anymore. There are very few decisions that a human being can make, that are as difficult as choosing the path of exile. And this is what displaced and refugees do.” Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, is recovering from Covid-19, and says it's given him a sense of the fragility of life. He says the socio-economic effects of the epidemic, including  rising poverty, are especially dire for refugees and displaced people.

An older woman holds the hand of a girl wearing a hijab while walking on the seashore.

Ties that Bind: Community Sponsorship in the UK