UNHCR and World Taekwondo Federation partner on training in camps

UNHCR and World Taekwondo Federation partner on training in camps

Joint WTF, UNHCR Press Release

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has signed an agreement in Geneva with the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) that will make it easier for thousands of refugees across the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe to enjoy the Olympic sport and martial art of taekwondo and keep healthy.

The WTF, through a newly created Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, will provide coaches and equipment for pilot taekwondo programmes already launched in two camps for Syrian refugees - Kilis in Turkey, and Jordan's Za'atari.

New projects will also bring taekwondo to male and female refugees of all ages in Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana and Greece.

"UNHCR is constantly looking for ways to improve the lives of refugees, and the agreement is one avenue to do that," said Daniel Endres, Director of External Relations. "I thank the WTF for proactively volunteering their services to assist refugees with sports and peace education. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead."

The projects in Kilis and Za'atari have been very popular and have helped keep people fit, occupied and with hope, especially young practitioners. A third programme was launched two months ago in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal.

UNHCR believes that the opportunity empowers refugees worldwide. The Refugee Agency congratulates the WTF for their humanitarian efforts, and looks forward to a partnership that will improve the livelihoods of refugees worldwide.

The programs are envisaged to help overcome a key problem in many refugee camps, which is their lack of educational, sporting and leisure facilities.

"We believe that teaching exercise, sport and the martial art of taekwondo in camps is an effective way to empower refugees. Basic taekwondo requires no equipment, no playing field, no bat, no ball - just the human body," said WTF President Chungwon Choue.

Prior to the signing of the agreement with UNHCR, Choue met Jacques Rogge, Honorary President of the IOC and UN Special Envoy for Youth Refugees and Sport to share, the progress of the recent activities of the WTF on refugees and to plan joint activities in refugee camps in the near future.

He also met with Michael Moller, Director General of the UNOG for mutual understanding and cooperation between the two organizations.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

  • For UNHCR, Nora Sturm, sturmn@unhcr.org,on mobile +41 79 200 76 18
  • For the World Taekwondo Federation, Heesoo Noh, pr@wtf.org, on +82 2 566 2505