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Around the world, many refugees, internally displaced persons, and stateless people have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they have joined their host communities to support prevention and response efforts.

From providing help to vulnerable people, countering misinformation, volunteering in the medical response, or advocating for access to health services, refugees have stepped up and contributed, showing solidarity and leadership.

In the virtual opening session of this year’s High Commissioner Dialogue on Protection Challenges, the High Commissioner will discuss these contributions with an inspiring group of five refugees and a Sustainable Development Goal advocate who are engaged in the response to the pandemic.

They will share their experiences and discuss the protection and resilience challenges posed by the pandemic, solutions that can help us build back better, and lessons learned that could help us to confront other global challenges, such as displacement related to climate change and disasters. These exchanges and testimonies will set the stage for the discussions in the virtual sessions to follow.  

Register to the opening session (This event is by invitation only)

To submit a question for the speakers or a written statement in advance of this session, please send an e-mail to [email protected], adding the name of the session in the subject line.  

Speakers for the opening session

  • Mr. Shadi Shhaded
  • Mr. Barthelemy Mwanza Ngane
  • Dr. Carmen Parra


2.	Dr. Fezzeh Hosseini

Dr. Fezzeh Hosseini

Dr. Fezzeh Hosseini, 38, is the first and only refugee doctor in Esfahan province, in Iran. As the head of a health centre, she oversees a dozen doctors and nurses and, since the COVID-19 outbreak, has gone beyond her medical duties to ensure Afghans and Iranians have information about and access to health services. She was born in Afghanistan, but her family fled the conflict to Iran when she was just 1 month old.

Mr. Nhial Deng

Mr. Nhial Deng

Nhial Deng has lived in the Kakuma Refugee Camp for ten years. His father, originally from South Sudan, was displaced by the Sudan Civil War in the 1970s and found a new home in Ethiopia. Nhial found hope in Kakuma after fleeing an armed attack on his village in Ethiopia in 2010 and today he is a community activist helping young people in the camp to improve their lives through education, mentorship, and social entrepreneurship.

Twitter: @NhialGD 
Instagram: @nhial_gabe 
Facebook: Nhial Gabriel
LinkedIn: Nhial Deng

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

Ms. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim is an environmental activist, member of Chad's pastoralist Mbororo community, a UN Sustainable Development Goal Advocate, President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT) and member of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC). She began advocating for Indigenous rights and environmental protection at age 16. She served as co-chair of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) during the historic UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris. Her vision is to promote traditional knowledge and science to improve resilience to climate change especially for rural communities.

Twitter: @hindououmar
Instagram: hindououmar
Facebook: Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim 
LinkedIn: hindououmar 

Mr. Barthelemy Mwanza Ngane

Mr. Barthelemy Mwanza Ngane

Mr. Barthelemy Mwanza, is a 27-year-old Congolese currently living in Zimbabwe at Tongogara refugee camp. He is the Co-Chair of the UNHCR Global Youth Advisory Council (GYAC), which is serving as UNHCR's consultative group on issues relating to the protection and development of young people who are refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless persons. I have been working with the GYAC as delegate since December 2017.
Through this role, he has taken on a wide range of responsibilities including engaging in consultations with refugee communities; advocacy; identifying good practices; networking; identifying and supporting refugee projects and programs.

Twitter: @BarthMwanza
Instagram: hindououmar
LinkedIn: Barth Mwanza