Ameen Hussain Jubran, head and founder of the Yemeni non-governmental organization Jeel Albena, inside a house destroyed by an air strike in the city of Sana'a. UNHCR is honouring Jeel Albena with the prestigious UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award for 2021.
© UNHCR/Ahmed Haleem

Established in 1954, the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award honours individuals, groups and organizations who go above and beyond the call of duty to protect refugees, as well as displaced and stateless people.

We are delighted to announce that this year’s Laureate is the Jeel Albena Association for Humanitarian Development (JAAHD), a humanitarian organization providing emergency services to internally displaced people in northern Yemen.

Founded by Ameen Jubran in 2017, the organization has constructed 18,000 shelters for internally displaced people and their host communities. It has also provided cash assistance to some 60,000 people and helped thousands of others through its skills-building centre and school rehabilitation programme.

Jubran himself was displaced by the conflict in Yemen in 2015. Three years later, he was nearly killed while working for his organization. Yet Jubran and his colleagues stayed throughout the conflict to deliver lifesaving aid to those who need it the most.

The perseverance, humanitarian spirit and commitment to people forced to flee their homes makes Jeel Albena a worthy Laureate of the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award.

Read more about Jubran’s incredible story

2021 Ceremony Highlights Video

What is happening in Yemen?

Yemen is already one of the poorest countries in the Middle East and fighting has added to the existing problems of poverty and insecurity. The worsening violence means that more than 20 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance.

  • More than 20 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance
  • More than 4 million people have been forced to flee their homes, living in substandard shelters
  • Yemenis who have been forced to flee their homes are four times more at risk of famine than the rest of the population

Yemen is facing a humanitarian catastrophe. Without help, many more lives will be lost to violence, treatable illnesses or lack of food, water and shelter.

You can provide direct help to Yemenis who are suffering - please donate now.

Donate now

Meet the 2021 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award Regional Winners

We are honoured to announce the Regional Winners of the 2021 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award, each selected from hundreds of nominees for their outstanding work with refugees as well as displaced and stateless people.

Africa Regional Joint Winners: Roukiatou Maiga and Diambendi Madiega

Roukiatou Maiga is the President of the Women’s Association Djam Weli, based in Burkina Faso. Maiga advocates strongly for the rights of internally displaced people (IDPs) and has shown great hospitality and generosity to those forcibly displaced in Dori in the Sahel region.

Diambendi Madiega is a small-scale farmer and practitioner of traditional medicine in Kaya, Burkina Faso. He also spends time advocating for the rights of IDPs and has opened his heart and property in the Center-North region.

Read about their amazing work

Asia Regional Winner: Dr Saleema Rehman

Doctor Saleema Rehman is an obstetrician and gynecologist living and working in Pakistan. Dr Rehman is an Afghan refugee and overcame significant struggles to gain the support of her community to pursue her dreams of becoming a doctor.

After years of hard work and lobbying for funding, Dr Rehman opened a private practice in Attock, which enables refugees and people from low income backgrounds to access affordable medical care.

Read about her incredible story

Americas Regional Winner: Santiago Ávila

After the murder of his younger brother, Santiago Ávila and his family had to seek safety in another region of Honduras. Santiago has since made it his mission to save other families from the same fate.  

Ávila opted to return to Honduras to start Jóvenes Contra la Violencia, which over the past 10 has worked with at children and young people at risk of being pulled into gangs or who have already fled gang related violence.

Read Ávila's inspirational story

Europe Regional Winner: Nikola Kovačević

Nikola Kovačević has represented almost 30 per cent of the asylum-seekers who have been granted protection in Serbia. He has been actively engaged in the protection of human and refugee rights, individual asylum-seekers and refugees since 2012. His work has contributed towards key improvements in asylum procedures in Serbia which, in turn, has increased the number of refugees being granted international protection there.

Read Kovačević's inspirational story