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.
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.
Women in Exile
In any displaced population, approximately 50 percent of the uprooted people are women and girls. Stripped of the protection of their homes, their government and sometimes their family structure, females are particularly vulnerable. They face the rigours of long journeys into exile, official harassment or indifference and frequent sexual abuse, even after reaching an apparent place of safety. Women must cope with these threats while being nurse, teacher, breadwinner and physical protector of their families. In the last few years, UNHCR has developed a series of special programmes to ensure women have equal access to protection, basic goods and services as they attempt to rebuild their lives.
On International Women's Day UNHCR highlights, through images from around the world, the difficulties faced by displaced women, along with their strength and resilience.
Braving the cold in Calais
Many boys and young men from places like Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Somalia and the Sudan end up in the northern French port of Calais after a long and dangerous journey. Some have fled their countries to escape persecution, conflict or forced recruitment, others are looking for a better life. Calais has become a transit point where people smugglers have established networks to take these men to other European countries. Their makeshift encampments are regularly cleared by the French police, and they sleep most nights out in the open. They live in fear of being arrested or deported. UNHCR's office in Calais seeks to provide the young men arriving in the city with information about their options and the asylum system in France.
Al Tanf: Leaving No Man's Land
In February 2010, the last 60 Palestinian inhabitants of the squalid camp of Al Tanf on the Syria-Iraq border were ushered onto buses and taken to another camp in Syria.
Al Tanf camp was established in May 2006, when hundreds of Palestinians fleeing persecution in Iraq tried in vain to cross into Syria. With no country willing to accept them, they remained on a strip of desert sandwiched between a busy highway and a wall in the no-man's-land between Iraq and Syria.
Along with daily worries about their security, the residents of Al Tanf suffered from heat, dust, sandstorms, fire, flooding and even snow. The passing vehicles posed another danger. At its peak, Al Tanf hosted some 1,300 people.
UNHCR encouraged resettlement countries to open their doors to the Palestinians. Since 2008, more than 900 of them have been accepted by countries such as Belgium, Chile, Finland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The last group of Palestinians were transferred to Al Hol camp in Syria, where they face continuing restrictions and uncertainty.