Fast Retailing and UNHCR Announce New Agreement
Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., which owns the UNIQLO clothing chain, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today jointly announce a new agreement to support refugees worldwide. The Tokyo-based company will provide US$10 million in funds and distribute winter wear for new arrivals in Europe, and expanding its internship program both in Japan and abroad.
Commenting on today's announcement, Tadashi Yanai, Chairman, President and CEO of Fast Retailing, said "The refugee issue is one of the most difficult challenges the international community is facing today. We must collectively tackle the constant threats that have forced so many people, including a large number of children, to flee," He added, "We have been providing refugees with emergency assistance, programs that promote self-reliance and donations of clothes for nearly 10 years. We will continue to supply refugees with the clothes they need and give them hope for better lives, in keeping with our never-ending desire for a sustainable and peaceful world."
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said: "Nearly 60 million people have been forced to flee their homes worldwide; the equivalent to almost half the population of Japan. 20 million of these people are refugees. In the face of such an unprecedented challenge, the robust support of the private sector is crucial for meeting the needs of the millions of families who have lost everything and who are seeking a safe place to restore their lives and build a better future," said Guterres. "I welcome Fast Retailing's decision to stand behind refugees not just through its generous funding, but also by mobilizing its staff, business partners and customers to join forces for the refugee cause."
Fast Retailing started its collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency in 2006 and entered into an expanded partnership in 2011 - a first for a company headquartered in Asia. The new support being pledged today is part of a global partnership aimed at assisting forcibly displaced people around the world, in recognition of the need for international organizations and private enterprise to collaborate more closely for the refugee cause.
Under the new agreement, the Tokyo-based company commits to support the UN Refugee Agency with US$10 million over the next three years, starting from 2016. The funds will help UNHCR respond to emergencies and other acute humanitarian crises, and provide refugees in Asia with help to become self-reliant.
The donation will also cover costs related to the distribution of donated clothing. To date, Fast Retailing has collected and distributed through UNHCR more than 10 million items of lightly used clothing to refugees across 37 countries.
In addition, UNIQLO will donate 150,000 items of Extra Warm HEATTECH clothing to help families seeking asylum in Europe and Afghanistan through the coming winter. In Japan, the company will also provide internships with future employment possibilities to 100 refugees.
For media queries, please contact: Fast Retailing Corporate PR Aldo Liguori, Ai Kanda and Pei Chi Tung, Tokyo, Tel. +81 (0)3 6865 0960, and UNHCR Yuki Moriya, Tel. +81 (0)3 3499 2042.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people and people who are displaced inside their own countries. In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. Today, a staff of some 9,300 people in more than 127 countries continues to help well over 50 million people. Learn more at www.unhcr.org and www.facebook.com/UNHCR