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.
Struggling with the threat of extinction
Among Colombia's many indigenous groups threatened with extinction, few are in a riskier situation than the Tule. There are only about 1,200 of them left in three locations in the neighbouring departments of Choco and Antiquoia in north-western Colombia.
One group of 500 live in Choco's Unguia municipality, a strategically important area on the border with Panama that is rich in timber, minerals and other natural resources. Unfortunately, these riches have attracted the attention of criminal and illegal armed groups over the past decade.
Many tribe members have sought shelter in Panama or elsewhere in Choco. But a determined core decided to stay, fearing that the tribe would never survive if they left their ancestral lands and gave up their traditional way of life.
UNHCR has long understood and sympathized with such concerns, and the refugee agency has helped draw up a strategy to prevent displacement, or at least ensure that the Tule never have to leave their territory permanently.
Afgooye corridor fast becoming the capital of Somalia's displaced
UNHCR completed in September 2010 the latest assessment of the internally displaced population on the periphery of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and has revised upwards the estimated number of displaced people in the so-called Afgooye corridor to 410,000. Since the escalation of the conflict in Somalia in 2007, a number of makeshift sites have sprung up along the 30-kilometre stretch of road leading west from Mogadishu to Afgooye town. In September 2009, an earlier UNHCR assessment put the number at 366,000. The latest assessment is the result of a three-month-long exercise led by UNHCR on behalf of humanitarian agencies in Somalia. Due to the difficult security situation and lack of access, it was based on high-resolution satellite imagery which allowed precise mapping of temporary shelters and measurement of buildings and subsequent application of the population density data. The rapid urbanization of the Afgooye corridor is clearly evident in the satellite imagery.
Photo Essay: Documenting the floods in Pakistan
Photojournalist Alixandra Fazzina, winner of UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award among other commendations, is on the ground in Pakistan.
2010 Pakistan flood emergency
Torrential rains and flash floods have affected around a million people in parts of southwest and northwestern Pakistan. More than one thousand people lost their lives when water inundated their homes in the past week. Though monsoon rains are nothing new for Pakistanis, it rained more than expected, washing away homes, roads and other basic infrastructure, creating the worst flood disaster in the country's history. UNHCR launched a relief response to support the authorities to help people affected by the flood. The local relief authorities in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces have started distribution of UNHCR-provided tents and other relief items. More relief items are on the way.
Alixandra Fazzina 2010 Nansen Refugee Award winner
Photo journalist Alixandra Fazzina is being recognized as this year's winner of UNHCR's prestigious Nansen Refugee Award for her striking coverage of the devastating human consequences of war.
Working in remote and often dangerous environments this photo exhibition shot in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan is a sample of her work and, as is typical of Fazzina's style, portrays the plight of displaced people with compassion and empathy.
Speaking about her photos Alixandra Fazzina said, "I hope my photography gives someone else a moment to stand still, take the time to look, look properly, and engage in a slightly different way with the world".
Ms. Fazzina began her career as a photojournalist embedded with the British army in Bosnia. Since then, she has turned her lens from the frontlines to the refugee camps to document the human suffering caused by war.
Her work has been published by major news media around the world driving attention and sympathy to the people she portrays.