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UNHCR: Deep concern over refugee deportation from Japan

Press Releases, 18 January 2005

18 January 2005

TOKYO, 18 Jan. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, is deeply concerned over Japan's unprecedented deportation of two Turkish Kurds recognized as refugees under UNHCR's Statute. Japanese authorities deported the two refugees to Turkey on Tuesday, Jan. 18, despite last-minute appeals by UNHCR and human rights groups.

In a note verbale sent earlier Tuesday to the Minister of Justice, UNHCR urged the government not to send back these refugees, pointing out that such a move would represent an act of "refoulement" prohibited under international refugee law.

UNHCR said it had taken steps to seek third country resettlement for the refugees. The persons deported are a Turkish Kurd and his 20-year-old son. His wife and three other children are facing the same fate. UNHCR considers the deportation contrary to Japan's obligations under international law. The deportation is unprecedented and contrasts with Japan's humanitarian assistance towards refugees and disaster victims abroad.

The two persons deported had exhausted all legal remedies to remain in Japan and were considered as refugees by UNHCR. The refugee agency had made previous interventions on their behalf.

Until now, the Japanese authorities have provided UNHCR with the possibility to seek durable solutions for such refugees, including local integration or, in some cases, third country resettlement in accordance with the refugee agency's mandate. The refoulement of these refugees represents a disturbing departure from that practice.

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From Paris With Love, Toys for Syrian Children

Every year, the Quai Branly Museum in Paris organizes a collection of toys from schoolchildren in Paris and, with a little help from UNHCR and other key partners, sends them to refugee children who have lost so much.

The beneficiaries this year were scores of Syrian children living in two camps in Turkey, one of the major host countries for the more than 1.4 million Syrians who have fled their country with or without their families. Most of these traumatized young people have lost their own belongings in the rubble of Syria.

Last week, staff from the museum, UNHCR and the Fédération des Associations d'Anciens du Scoutisme gathered up the toys and packed them into 60 boxes. They were then flown to Turkey by Aviation Sans Frontières (Aviation without Borders) and taken to the kindergarten and nursery schools in Nizip-1 and Nizip-2 camps near the city of Gaziantep.

A gift from more fortunate children in the French capital, the toys brought a ray of sunshine into the lives of some young Syrian refugees and reminded them that their peers in the outside world do care.

These images of the toy distribution were taken by photographer Aytac Akad and UNHCR's Selin Unal.

From Paris With Love, Toys for Syrian Children

Keeping Occupied in Turkey's Adiyaman camp for Syrian Refugees

Since the conflict in Syria erupted in April 2011, the government of neighbouring Turkey has established 17 camps in eight provinces to provide safety and shelter to tens of thousands of refugees - three-quarters of them women and children. The camps, including Adiyaman depicted here, provide a place to live and address the basic physical needs of the residents, but they also provide access to health care, education, vocational training and other forms of psychosocial support.

UNHCR teams are present on a regular basis in all the refugee camps and provide technical assistance to the Turkish authorities on all protection-related concerns, including registration, camp management, specific needs and vulnerabilities, and voluntary repatriation. UNHCR has contributed tents, cooking facilities and other relief items. The refugee agency is also working with the government to help an estimated 100,000 Syrian urban refugees. It will continue its material and technical support to help the authorities cope with an increase in arrivals. The following images of camp life were taken by American photographer, Brian Sokol, in Adiyaman camp, located in Turkey's Gaziantep province. At the start of February 2013, nearly 10,000 Syrian refugees were living in the camp.

Keeping Occupied in Turkey's Adiyaman camp for Syrian Refugees

Angelina Jolie visits Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the Middle East

In her new role as UNHCR Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie has made five trips to visit refugees so far this year. She travelled to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey in September 2012 to meet some of the tens of thousands of Syrians who have fled conflict in their homeland and sought shelter in neighbouring countries. Jolie wrapped up her Middle East visit in Iraq, where she met Syrian refugees in the north as well as internally displaced Iraqis and refugee returnees to Baghdad.

The following unpublished photos were taken during her visit to the Middle East and show her meeting with Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Angelina Jolie visits Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the Middle East

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Syrian Refugees: Turkey Border Town Welcome

More than 10,000 Syrian Refugees have flowed into the town Akcakale in Southern Turkey. Akcakale is a town of 30,000 that now sits next door to a refugee camp with 30,000 more Syrian refugees seeking safety.
Syrian Refugees: Rebuilding Lives in TurkeyPlay video

Syrian Refugees: Rebuilding Lives in Turkey

Adiyaman camp in Turkey hosts 10,000 Syrian refugees. Once there, the refugees start to try and rebuild their lives in a positive direction. The camp management, with help from the local municipality, has set up workshops that are giving daily meaning to the lives of the refugees.
Syrian Refugees: An Urban Refugee in Turkey Play video

Syrian Refugees: An Urban Refugee in Turkey

There are more than 650,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey. Some 200,000 are housed in refugee camps along the border, but more than 460,000 live more precarious lives as urban refugees. One of them, Abdul Rahman, lives in the southern city of Urfa. It's been tough but the young man keeps his dreams alive.