Our photo library in Geneva is 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 thousands of UN staff who have helped them. Most photos are showcased here and on Flickr. We offer the use of our photos free to the media - please just remember to credit us!
The Anguish of Syria’s Refugees Enters a Fifth Year
Added 13 Mar 2015
These are the faces of Syrian refugees – more than 3.8 million in neighbouring countries alone – who fled their homes to escape a war that’s unleashed one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. They imagined their exile might last weeks or months. Now the conflict is raging into a fifth year.
Many refugees reached safety after treacherous journeys by car, bus or a motorcycle. Others walked across deserts and rivers, or climbed over mountains to escape persecution and death in Syria.
They made their homes in informal settlements across Lebanon, in organised camps in Turkey and Jordan, and in unfinished buildings and other insecure dwellings around Beirut, Amman and Istanbul, stretching their hosts’ resources, and hospitality, to the limit.
UNHCR has appealed for billions of dollars to help bring aid to Syria’s refugees. With partners, the refugee agency is providing shelter, medical care, food and education. But what the refugees need most is an end to the devastating conflict, so they can regain hope of returning to Syria and rebuilding their broken homeland.
Prince Soniyiki, from Nigerian to "Croatian" in three years
Added 23 Feb 2015
All photos: UNHCR / N. Lukin
Prince Wale Soniyiki, 29, is the poster boy for Croatia’s refugee system. When Prince (that’s his real name, not a royal title) arrived here from Nigeria three years ago, he felt like a “complete nobody.” Today he has a good job, speaks the language fluently and is a well-known advocate for asylum-seekers, whose voices are rarely heard in Croatian society. Prince fled Nigeria in December 2011 after a bloody terrorist attack killed his brothers. A circuitous route through Libya and Italy eventually led him to Croatia.
Croatia, which joined the European Union in 2013, has a well-functioning asylum system. But it’s rarely tested because nearly all asylum-seekers and refugees move on to other European countries, partly because integration into society is not easy. Prince, though, is making a life here. Two years ago he founded “Africans Living in Croatia" to help others like him integrate and to help Croatians better understand migrants. His passionate work grabbed the attention of the owner of a tuna farming company, who offered him a job on his boat on the Adriatic coast.
Congolese Medics on Call For Refugees
Added 30 Jan 2015
All photos: UNHCR / B. Sokol
Jean de Dieu, from the Central African Republic (CAR), was on his way to market in mid-January when he was shot. The 24-year-old shepherd and his family had fled their country two months earlier and sought refuge on an island in the Oubangui River belonging to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Sometimes Jean crossed back to check on his livestock, but last week his luck ran out when he went to take an animal to market. A few hours later, in an improvised operating room in Dula, a Congolese border town on the banks of the Oubangui, doctors fight to save his life.
Jean’s situation is not unique. Over the past two years, war in the Central African Republic has driven more than 850,000 people from their homes. Many have been attacked as they fled, or killed if they tried to return. In neighbouring DRC, medical resources are being stretched to their limits.
Photographer Brian Sokol, on assignment for UNHCR, captured the moment when Jean and others were rushed into the operating theatre. His images bear witness to desperation, grief, family unity and, ultimately, a struggle for survival.