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Putting Our Work into Focus

A picture tells a thousand words - and UNHCR has more than 250,000 of them dating back decades. The agency's photo library in Geneva is guardian of the world's largest collection of refugee-related photos covering nearly all of the major displacements of the last 60 years. These images provide a comprehensive portrait of the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people and the stateless in all corners of the globe, as well as the work of the thousands of UN staff who have helped them. Many of our best photos are showcased on this website and on the social networking site, Flickr. We offer the use of our photos free to the media.

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An Infant's Journey to Safety

Added: 03 Sep 2013

Three days after giving birth to her fourth child, a girl she named Hawler, Peroz concluded that the situation in her hometown of Hassake, Syria, was too dangerous for her children. She decided to make the difficult journey to northern Iraq. Along the way, she and Hawler were sick. "I was terrified the baby might die," said Peroz, 27.

Although the border was closed, guards felt compassion for the newborn child and let Peroz's family enter. A few days later Peroz and her children were reunited with their father and now they are living with hundreds of other refugees in a small park on the outskirts of Erbil.

Battling mosquitoes and soaring daytime temperatures, and with little more than blankets for comfort and a breakfast of bread and cheese for nourishment, Peroz and her husband hope to be transferred to a new tented settlement.

Over the past few weeks, tens of thousands of Syrians have flooded into northern Iraq, fleeing violence. With existing camps at full capacity, many refugee families are finding shelter anywhere they can. The local government has started transferring people from Qushtapa Park to a nearby camp. UNHCR is registering the refugees, as well as providing tents and life-saving assistance.

Syria's Latest Grim Statistic: One Million Children in Exile

Added: 23 Aug 2013

With Syria's civil war well into its third year, the United Nations estimates that there are now more than 1 million Syrian children living outside their country as refugees. They include eight-year-old Aya, who was forced to flee with her family to Lebanon in 2011. They now live in an informal settlement with more than a thousand other refugees, surrounded by tomato, pepper and carrot fields in the fertile Bekaa Valley. The young girl is curious about everything and loves to learn, but she hasn't been able to go to school for most of the past two years. She dreams of studying and wants to become a paediatrician one day. But her father is sick and unemployed and cannot afford the monthly fee of US$20 for the bus to the nearest school. While her siblings work in the fields to make money, Aya stays behind to care for her sister Labiba, aged 11, who lives with disability. Her family says Aya is tough, but also has a very sunny disposition that rubs off on others.

Emergency food distribution in South Sudan's Jonglei state

Added: 15 Aug 2013

Humanitarian organizations in South Sudan are working to deliver emergency assistance to some of the tens of thousands of people displaced by armed conflict in Jonglei state. Most of those uprooted have fled into the bush or have walked for days to reach villages away from the fighting. Others have journeyed even greater distances to find sanctuary in the neighbouring countries of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Gaining access to those affected in an insecure and isolated area has been a significant challenge for aid workers. Since mid-July, an airlift has been providing food supplies to families living in two previously inaccessible villages and where humanitarian agencies have established temporary bases. As part of the "cluster approach" to humanitarian emergencies, which brings together partners working in the same response sector, UNHCR is leading the protection cluster to ensure the needs of vulnerable individuals among the displaced are addressed.

Syrians stream from their war-torn country into Iraq's Kurdistan region

Added: 15 Aug 2013

Thousands of Syrians streamed across a bridge over the Tigris River and into Iraq's Kurdistan region on Thursday, August 15th. UNHCR Field Officer, Galiya Gubaeva, was on the ground with her camera.

Syria's Soap Makers Continue Ramadan Tradition in Lebanon

Added: 07 Aug 2013

TV soap operas are a staple of Ramadan across the Arab world, and those made in Syria are particularly famous and popular around the region. The war in Syria has halted most productions, but some cast and crews are continuing the tradition and filming new dramas for the small screen in Lebanon.

In general, the stories are about Arab heroes and celebrated battles and are an integral - and highly anticipated - part of Ramadan. Acclaimed photographer Elena Dorfman, on assignment for UNHCR, followed the crews of two soaps on location in Lebanon.

In these images, she focuses on director Saifeddine Al Sibaii's making his latest soap, "Al Wilada Min Al Khasira" ("Giving birth from the hip"), and on female director Abeer Esber as she films the Ramadan drama, "Al Obour" ("The Transition") in a mountainous region of Lebanon.

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