UNHCR unveils website in French
GENEVA, April 1 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency has re-launched its French-language website in a bid to reach out to Francophone readers through daily news stories and information on UNHCR and asylum-related issues in their own language.
The revamped website, at www.unhcr.fr, complements UNHCR's international website, offering a wide range of up-to-date information in French, including daily news stories on refugee- and asylum-related issues, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors, documents on refugee protection and asylum trends, as well as procedures for individuals who want to help refugees.
"All French-speaking friends of UNHCR will be pleased with this big step towards balancing French and English, the two working languages of the UN," said Marie Heuzé, the chief spokeswoman of the United Nations in Geneva.
"Handling, in their own language, the question and situation of refugees - particularly those from French-speaking Africa - is a plus for better understanding of assistance and procedures among refugees and donors," she said, welcoming the long-awaited website re-launch.
"This initiative constitutes the opening of UNHCR to the French-speaking world through a common language and universal values," said Mohamed Boukry, UNHCR Representative in France. "I hope it will continue the values and ideals of UNHCR, and enable hope to keep shining in the eyes of millions of people concerned with its mandate around the world."
Hervé Cassan, Ambassador of l'Organisation International de la Francophonie (OIF), added, "With this site in French, UNHCR converts into action the main principles of multilingualism and cultural diversity. UNHCR and OIF have worked side-by-side for a long time, sharing the same values and concern for refugees. This site is another way to make our solidarity concrete and to combine our efforts in the service of human dignity and protecting persons of concern to UNHCR."
In 2002, OIF awarded UNHCR with the Prix de la Francophonie Numérique for simultaneous translations of news items and documents on its international website. The refugee agency's French-language site builds on that tradition, and has already won a loyal following. "I will regularly visit this site to be informed about refugee news and this cause that I am deeply concerned about," said UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Julien Clerc.
Originally hosted in Paris, the website in French has now been relocated to UNHCR's headquarters in Geneva, where it is produced by the Electronic Publications Unit of the Media Relations and Public Information Service.