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Forced To Flee: UNHCR podcast tells story of displacement over 70 years


Forced To Flee: UNHCR podcast tells story of displacement over 70 years

To mark UNHCR's 70th anniversary, a new seven-part series revisits major upheavals that shaped the period through the eyes of displaced people and others caught up in events.
14 September 2021
Two children pictured at a transit centre for Indochinese refugees in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1979.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today launches a new podcast entitled Forced To Flee.

Over seven episodes narrated by broadcaster, author and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Anita Rani, Forced To Flee revisits some of the world’s most tumultuous events over the past 70 years.

Forcibly displaced people, humanitarian workers and others tell their own extraordinary stories and offer unique perspectives on some of the most significant moments in recent history: from the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 to the fall-out from the end of the conflict in Viet Nam; from the genocide in Rwanda to the crisis in Syria.

"There’s a lot of tough choices to be made. Nobody, nobody chooses to be a refugee." – Guled Mire, activist, policy maker and former refugee

Using interviews, sound archive and music, Forced To Flee also examines the key issues facing humanitarian agencies and the international community as global displacement reaches record levels and continues to rise.

The podcast is being hosted on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and many other platforms, and is also available at

The series was commissioned to mark the 70th year of UNHCR and the 1951 Refugee Convention, but although the podcast is by its nature historical, the intention was always to put the voices of forcibly displaced people at the heart of the narrative.

“I just know I was born moving, fleeing … walking for miles and miles as if the journey would never end.” – Mary Maker, refugee and UNHCR high-profile supporter

“At a time when global human displacement is at record levels, it is vital to show the world that the consequences of persecution, conflict and human rights abuses are measured in real lives and suffered by real people,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“I hope that their stories show just how devastating it is to have to flee one’s home. And I hope it increases solidarity for these inspiring women, children and men.”

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