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.
Syria's Soap Makers Continue Ramadan Tradition in Lebanon
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.
30 Days of Faith
The Islamic month of fasting, Ramadan, is observed by Muslims across the world. Over the 30 days of Ramadan, which began on July 10 and ends on August 9, we will offer a glimpse into how refugees observe this important period so far away from home. We asked photographers in different parts of the world to capture people's memories, struggles and dreams. Come on this annual journey.
Refugee Syrian Artists Get Some Room of their Own
When Raghad Mardini first set eyes on the crumbling, war-scarred Ottoman coach house in the mountains above Beirut she saw potential. Trained as a civil engineer in her native Syria, she knew how to put the bones back together and spent a year lovingly restoring the structure, which had been badly damaged during Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war. She also knew the potential of the rudderless young Syrian artists recently displaced by the tragic war in their country, who needed her help in navigating Beirut, where they had all fled. With the coach house finished and standing empty, she decided it would make an ideal studio and sanctuary for the young, artistic refugees. She set up the Art Residence Aley so that they could produce and create once more. Photographer Elena Dorfman, who is working for UNHCR in the Lebanon, visited the retreat in the small town of Aley. These are some of the images she took.
The Most Important Thing – Malian Refugees in Burkina Faso
"The Most Important Thing" documents - in words and pictures - some of the tough decisions people face when they have to flee their home. With support from UNHCR, American photographer Brian Sokol began the project in South Sudan, taking portraits of Sudanese refugees carrying the most valuable possession they brought with them into exile. He also asked them to explain their decision. Sokol continued with Syrian refugees in Iraq and in this photo essay looks at Malians in refugee camps in neighbouring Burkina Faso. While the photographs may reveal a fair amount about the subjects, it is their words - their stories - that share far more.
For the Sudanese, the most important things were primarily objects to keep them alive during their long, difficult journey: a pot, an axe, a water jug or a basket. For Syrians, the objects were largely sentimental: an old ring, a torn photograph, the key to a door that may no longer exist. Among the Malians depicted in this photo gallery, the objects largely had to do with their cultural identity. They spoke of how the items helped them to still feel part of their people, despite being forced into exile.
UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie meets with newly arrived Syrian refugees in Jordan
UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie traveled to Jordan's border with Syria on 18 June at the start of a visit to mark World Refugee Day. She met with refugees as they were arriving and listened to their stories of escape.She urged the international community to do more to help the survivors of the conflict and the countries hosting them. "The worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century is unfolding in the Middle East today," she said."The international response to this crisis falls short of the vast scale of this human tragedy. Much more humanitarian aid is needed, and above all, a political settlement to this conflict must be found." The war in Syria forced more people to flee last year than any other conflict in the world. In the past six months, the number has more than doubled to 1.6 million, of whom 540,000 are in Jordan. During her visit to Jordan, Ms. Jolie will join the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, to meet with government officials and refugees.