Refugees

Kristin Riis Halvorsen

Kristin Riis Halvorsen, UNHCR’s head of office in Tapachula, Mexico talks about how rewarding her job is, because it allows her to do something meaningful, but she also grapples with decisions about what the organization can and cannot do. "It would have been amazing to live in a world where no one was forced to leave their home," she says.

students leaving school through emergency exit

Fatima Katash is an 8th grade student at the UNRWA Jalazone Basic Girls’ School. Jalazone camp is adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Beit El. Because the settlement and camp are so close, Israeli security patrols and a military presence often lead to clashes with Palestine refugees. During incidents, the UNRWA protection team directly interacts with the Israeli military to advocate for the protection of the children and to de-escalate the situation. The team also helps coordinate the evacuation of students and staff, in the event of clashes.

Woman knee-deep in water carrying a plastic barrel.

The impacts of our changing climate are being felt worldwide, but countries already struggling with conflict, poverty and high levels of displacement are dealing with some of the most severe effects. From Afghanistan to Central America, droughts, flooding and other extreme weather events are hitting those least equipped to recover and adapt. This Earth Day, UNHCR released a new data visualization that shows how our warming world is compounding risks for people already living with conflict and instability, driving further displacement, and often decreasing possibilities for return.

Portrait of a man signing a letter.

UNHCR today announced the appointment of Alphonso Davies, FC Bayern Munich’s left-back and player for Canada Men’s National Football Team, as its newest Global Goodwill Ambassador.

Rosemary Kariuki at a party

Refugee Rosemary Kariuki has been recognized as Australia’s 2021 ‘Local Hero’ for her work helping other displaced women overcome isolation and gender violence.

Ethiopian refugee doctor, Tefera Tewodros

Medical doctor Tefera Tewodros was among the first refugees to reach safety in East Sudan at the onset of the crisis last November in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Stunned by the sheer number of people streaming across the border, many sick or wounded, he realized he had to step up and help. He went to offer his support to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the Sudanese Commission for Refugees (COR) at the Hamdayet transit centre. The very next day he started volunteering at the health clinic, run by the Sudanese Red Crescent Society. Since then, he has been living and working at the health clinic in the border town of Hamdayet in Kassala state, where the majority of the 60,000 refugees fleeing the conflict in Ethiopia have sought safety.

Three adults and two children are sitting on the floor in a refugee makeshift home. The adults are talking and look concerned.

"[In Yemen] the situation is quite desperate. We have probably two thirds of the population which relies on our humanitarian assistance for their daily survival. We have half of the health facilities that have been destroyed by five years of the conflict.

hands holding circle symbolizing protection

Find helpful services, information on asylum procedures, or read more about your rights and duties.

women in African dresses walking towards airport.

Despite an estimated 1.44 million refugees in urgent need of resettlement globally, only 22,770 were resettled through UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, last year. These are the lowest refugee resettlement numbers the agency has witnessed in almost two decades. The drop stems from low quotas put forward by states, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed departures and programmes. With 85 per cent of the 20.4 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate hosted in developing regions, resettlement is a tangible way in which states can better protect refugees, demonstrate solidarity and support host countries.

refugees around fire

The Twitter community drew images of what it means to be warm for Neil Gaiman's poem, animated by UNHCR to raise life-saving funds for Syrian refugees left out in the cold.