Putting Our Work into Focus
A picture tells a thousand words - and UNHCR has more than 250,000 of them dating back decades. The agency's photo library in Geneva is guardian of the world's largest collection of refugee-related photos covering nearly all of the major displacements of the last 60 years. These images provide a comprehensive portrait of the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people and the stateless in all corners of the globe, as well as the work of the thousands of UN staff who have helped them. Many of our best photos are showcased on this website and on the social networking site, Flickr. We offer the use of our photos free to the media.
Widow Oumi starts a new life in South Sudan camp
Oumi arrived in Yusuf Batil refugee camp, in South Sudan, after three months on the run. Along the way she gave birth to a son, lost her husband to illness and guided her four children safely across the border from Sudan. The family reared goats, sheep and cattle in their home in Sudan's Blue Nile state before the war came to their village. With her children sick and hungry, Oumi finally found shelter in Yusuf Batil, where she is receiving assistance from UNHCR and its partners.
The widow, who does not know her age, says her life is now in the camp where she cooks for the children and hopes they can all soon start to help her. She says she worries about the future but dreams of being given a plot of land where she can grow sorghum, maize and okra to sell and make enough money to buy some goats. The following pictures depict Oumi and her children in their new home.
The resilience and dignity of refugees in South Sudan
Since September 2011, more than 100,000 Sudanese refugees have fled bombing raids and fighting in their home country and taken refuge in South Sudan's Upper Nile state. Hosted in four refugee camps in Maban County, they face tough living conditions that have worsened during the rainy season. Staff from the UN refugee agency share some of their hardship in one of the most remote and difficult to access areas of South Sudan.
Grateful for the life-saving assistance they receive from the UN refugee agency and its humanitarian partners, the refugees are an example of the extraordinary resilience humans are capable of. The following photographs, taken by UNHCR staff, show the conditions in which they live during a daily battle to maintain their dignity and hope.
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.
Nansen Refugee Award Presentation Ceremony
More than 400 people attended the annual presentation in Geneva in October 1, 2012 of UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award. This year's inspirational winner from Somalia, Hawa Aden Mohamed, was unable to attend for health reasons, but she sent a video message. In the former refugee's absence, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres presented the award and Nansen medal to her sister, Shukri Aden Mohamed.
The 63-year-old humanitarian, educator and women's rights advocate, widely known as "Mama" Hawa, was honoured for her extraordinary service - under extremely difficult conditions - on behalf of refugees and the internally displaced, mainly women and girls but also including boys.
Above all she has been recognized for her work - as founder and director of the Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development in Somalia's Puntland region - in helping to empower thousands of displaced Somali women and girls, many of whom are victims of rape. The centre provides secondary education as well as life skills training.
The packed event also included an address by Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, co-winner of last year's Nobel Peace Prize, and a video tribute to Mama Hawa as well as performances from UNHCR Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador and classical singer, Barbara Hendricks, and up and coming Swiss musician Bastian Baker.
Refugee life in one of the most remote places in South Sudan
Over the past year, thousands of people from Sudan's South Kordofan state have fled violence to seek safety in Yida refugee camp, situated just across the border in South Sudan. In late September, Yida was home to approximately 65,000 refugees from the Nuba Mountains. Located in one of the most remote places in South Sudan, Yida is now a virtual island as the rainy season has made access roads impassable.
Every day, refugees continue to arrive from across the border after harrowing journeys. All are tired and growing numbers are in poor health. Renewed air and ground attacks are causing more and more people to take flight.
UNHCR and humanitarian partners on the ground are providing protection and life-saving assistance to the refugee community in one of the most challenging operational environments in the world. The following photographs, taken by UNHCR Public Information Officer Kathryn Mahoney, depict daily life for refugees in Yida.