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.
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.
Angelina Jolie in Bosnia
UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie met with forcibly displaced people on April 5, 2010 during her first visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The actress, accompanied by her partner Brad Pitt, called for steps to end the continued suffering of these victims of the Bosnian War after hearing their harrowing tales and seeing their grim living conditions.
Jolie was clearly moved by the spirit - and the ordeal - of the people she met and she pledged to highlight their case. Most of the people she talked to have been living in exile since the end of the 1992-1995 conflict. Jolie visited collective centres in the towns of Gorazde and Rogatica, where the inhabitants lack basic services such as running water.
The actress spent some time with a group of women who were raped or tortured during the war. Their tales left a deep impression on her. She also met a family of refugee returnees who were still waiting to move into their village home near the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad.
Congo's river refugees
More than 100,000 Congolese refugees have crossed the Oubangui River in search of safety in neighbouring Republic of the Congo since inter-ethnic violence erupted in their home areas late last year. They fled from Equateur province in the north-west of Democratic Republic of the Congo after Enyele militiamen launched deadly assaults in October on ethnic Munzayas over fishing and farming rights in the Dongo area. The tensions have spread to other parts of the province.
The majority of the displaced are camping in public buildings and some 100 sites along a 600-kilometre stretch of the Oubangui River, including with host communities. The massive influx is stretching the meagre resources of the impoverished and remote region. Help is urgently needed for both the refugees and the host communities.
The relief operation is logistically complex and expensive because the region can only be reached by plane or boat. However, few boats are available and most are in need of repair. Fuel is expensive and difficult to procure.
International Women's Day
More than 70 per cent of all refugees are women and children. Stripped of the protection of their homes, their government and often their family structure, females are particularly vulnerable. They face the rigours of long journeys into exile, official harassment or indifference and frequent sexual abuse. International Women's Day provides us with an opportunity to honour the resilience and strength of these women.
"Not Just Numbers" photo exercise
In this exercise, pupils are invited to use the set of photos provided, and their imagination, to tell a story about migrants, asylum seekers or refugees.
- To be able to correctly apply the terms learnt relating to migration and asylum.
- To demonstrate an understanding of the situation of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers by imagining themselves in similar situations.
- To show critical thinking about racial, sexual or ethnic stereotypes and assumptions.