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UNHCR names Nansen Refugee Award regional winners


UNHCR names Nansen Refugee Award regional winners

The everyday heroes from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East are being honoured for their outstanding humanitarian work.
18 September 2019
Jordan. 'Mother of Syrians' nominated for UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award
Abeer Khreisha, the regional winner for the Middle East for the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award, poses for a portrait at a community centre in Madaba, Jordan.

GENEVA – An activist who brings together communities torn apart by conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; a champion of LGBTI rights in El Salvador; a physiotherapist who gets injured Afghans back on their feet; a volunteer who helps Syrians start over in Jordan and an organization negotiating safe routes to Italy for refugees.

These are the everyday heroes going to extraordinary lengths to help forcibly displaced people in great need, who have been chosen as the regional winners of the UNHCR 2019 Nansen Refugee Award.

The prestigious annual prize honours individuals, groups and organizations who go to extraordinary lengths to protect refugees, displaced and stateless people around the world.

The regional winners for Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East were short-listed from more than 200 nominees.

They are:

  • Africa: Evariste Mfaume, the founder of NGO Solidarité des Volontaires pour l'Humanité in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who champions the rights of Congolese people displaced by conflict and also refugees and their host communities.
  • Americas: Bianka Rodriguez from El Salvador, a young trans woman and executive director of NGO COMCAVIS TRANS, who advocates for the rights of forcibly displaced LGBTI people in the country.
  • Asia: Alberto Cairo, a physiotherapist in Afghanistan and head of the International Committee of the Red Cross orthopaedic programme, who has dedicated almost 30 years of his life to providing prosthetic limbs and helping find jobs for injured Afghans.
  • Europe: Humanitarian Corridors, a ground-breaking cross-border initiative established with the Italian Government in 2015 to enable particularly vulnerable refugees to start a new life in safety in Italy.
  • Middle East: Abeer Khreisha, a community volunteer in Jordan, known as "the mother of Syrians" for her work helping refugees.

The overall winner of the Nansen Refugee Award – who is not among those honoured today – will be revealed on 2 October. The prize will be presented at a ceremony in Geneva on 7 October.

Each regional winner will be honoured with a special Nansen certificate and events will be held to celebrate their work in cooperation with the Swiss and Norwegian embassies in the countries where they work.