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Jolie, Clinton join UNHCR chief António Guterres in live video link to mark World Refugee Day

News Stories, 18 June 2010

© UNHCR/B.Diab
High Commissioner António Guterres talks to an Iraqi refugee in Al Hassakeh before taking part in the live event.

WASHINGTON, DC, United States, June 18 (UNHCR) UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie, High Commissioner António Guterres and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took part Friday in a unique live video event linking four locations around the world to mark World Refugee Day.

The event was held in the Benjamin Franklin room on the top floor of the US State Department in Washington, DC, and included participants linked from Ecuador, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Syria.

Addressing the audience of 250 people, media and those watching via the internet, Clinton said: "I hope we can use this day to honour the courage and resilience of the millions of refuges around the world who push forward each and every day with the hope that tomorrow might bring a return home or the hope of a better life. I certainly intend to remain committed to making that hope a reality."

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie joined the proceedings from the remote community of Berranca Bermeja in northern Ecuador, which is home to a small group of Colombian refugees.

Jolie, who first visited Ecuador for UNHCR in 2002, said the refugees, though isolated, were now receiving regular support and assistance from the refugee agency. "I have noticed a great deal of change here," she said. "UNHCR has done extraordinary work. The field officers have been getting out into the Amazon and going up and down the river. They've registered now 50,000 refugees who are so grateful. It's a very moving story."

Sitting among refugees in Al Hassakeh governorate (province) in northern Syria, High Commissioner Guterres praised the generosity of the Syrian people who continue to host more than 1 million refugees from Iraq. In contrast, he said, "increasing numbers of countries are closing their borders" to refugees.

The programme also linked to a settlement for internally displaced people near the town of Dungu in north eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nearly 2 million Congolese have fled their homes as a result of continuing violence. UNHCR staffer Jorge Holly spoke to a man whose family had fled their home to escape violence by the Lord's Resistance Army, a brutal Ugandan militia group infamous for its attacks on civilians.

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The High Commissioner

António Guterres, who joined UNHCR on June 15, 2005, is the UN refugee agency's 10th High Commissioner.

World Refugee Day 2010 poster gallery

UNHCR has created three posters available to view and download to support this year's World Refugee Day. Millions of refugees around the world are unable to go home. These posters celebrate the strength and resolve that forcibly displaced people have to overcome adversity and make the best of their future lives.

World Refugee Day 2010 poster gallery

Finding home: UNHCR honours uprooted people on World Refugee Day

It's said that a man's home is his castle; a place of security and comfort. But for millions of people, home is a distant memory. It is a place they have had to flee to escape violence and persecution. Many end up living in a makeshift shelter or tent, either in their own country or in a foreign land. More than half of the refugees of concern to UNHCR now live in deprived urban areas.

Most dream of going home, others hope for resettlement and some are able to integrate in host countries. All want to have a real home where they can build a new life - a castle of their own.

UNHCR strives to find durable solutions for them. In 2008, almost 2 million refugees and internally displaced people were able to go back home and some 65,548 departed to 26 resettlement countries. Moreover, UNHCR estimates that around 1.1 million refugees have been granted citizenship in their country of asylum over the past decade.

On World Refugee Day, UNHCR recognized the strength and resolve of forcibly uprooted people and reaffirms its commitment to protect and find solutions for them.

Finding home: UNHCR honours uprooted people on World Refugee Day

2013 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres presented Sister Angélique Namaika of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with the prestigious Nansen Refugee Award at a gala ceremony in Geneva on Monday night.

Sister Angélique, through her Centre for Reintegration and Development, has helped transform the lives of more than 2,000 women and girls who had been forced from their homes and abused by fighters of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) or other armed groups. Many of those she helps suffered abduction, forced labour, beatings, murder, rape or other human rights abuses.

The Roman Catholic nun helps survivors to heal by offering them the chance to learn a trade, start a small business or go to school. Testimonies from these women show the remarkable effect she has had on helping turn around their lives, with many affectionately calling her "mother."

The Award ceremony featured a keynote speech from best-selling author Paulo Coelho and musical performances by singer-songwriter Dido, Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna and Grammy-nominated Malian musicians, Amadou and Mariam.

2013 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award

Iraq: High Commissioner visits Arbat campPlay video

Iraq: High Commissioner visits Arbat camp

Concluding a visit to Iraq, UNHCR chief António Guterres met with Syrian refugees in Arbat camp in the Kurdistan region. Guterres noted the recent proliferation of humanitarian crises, but urged the international community not to forget about Syria, "the mega protracted crisis of our times."
Iraq: High Commissioner visits displaced IraqisPlay video

Iraq: High Commissioner visits displaced Iraqis

This week UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres is visiting Iraq to meet with families displaced by conflict in recent weeks. After listening to accounts of their difficult journeys to safety, Guterres called for more support to help deal with the crisis. He will also visit some of the 300,000 Syrian refugees currently living in camps in northern Iraq.
Jordan: UNHCR and Host Countries Discuss SyriaPlay video

Jordan: UNHCR and Host Countries Discuss Syria

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres meets in Jordan's Za'atari refugee camp with leaders of countries hosting Syrian refugees in the region. He again urged the international community to do more to help these countries shoulder the burden.