Home > News and Views > UK Press Releases 

UK Press Releases

Getting the Message Out

Use of media, traditional and new, is vital for UNHCR in raising awareness, telling the story and getting our message out. The refugee agency provides a wide range of information about its activities, including regular news conferences, daily news stories on the homepage of this website, press releases, a photo service and video material shot in some of the world's most remote locations. A network of public information officers, supported by other staff, sends material to UNHCR's Communications Group for processing and dissemination. Timely and regular reports on our work and the people of concern to us play a vital role in keeping our staff, the public and donors informed - maintaining a high public profile is essential for an organisation like UNHCR, which relies on the generosity of others for funding.

Press Releases

UNHCR welcomes arrival of first Syrian refugees under UK government’s scheme

The arrival followed the UK government announcement in January, offering places to hundreds of vulnerable Syrian refugees through the Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme.

UNHCR hails 10 years of UK’s refugee resettlement programme, warns of growing global needs

Welcoming important and life-saving results of the United Kingdom’s decade-old Gateway refugee resettlement programme, UNHCR also warned of a rapidly growing gap between the needs of the global refugee population and existing durable solutions for their plight.

London celebrates the outstanding contributions of extraordinary refugee women

This year’s Women on the Move Awards recognise three women from across the UK who – against the odds - have made an outstanding contribution to women's empowerment and integration. 

UNHCR welcomes UK’s decision to offer refuge to Syrian refugees

UNHCR welcomes announcement of UK government to provide refuge to some of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees.

11th Ocotber 2013: Response to the Home Affairs Select Committee's report on Asylum

UNHCR has welcomed the findings of the Home Affairs Select Committee's report into the UK asylum system, particularly with regard to the quality of decision-making, and will continue to work with the Home Office to improve asylum procedures.

UNHCR hails move by United Kingdom to end legal limbo for stateless people

The United Kingdom has adopted a new 'landmark' stateless determination procedure that allows stateless people, currently living on the margins of society and in legal limbo, a route to be formally recognised as stateless and to legalise their presence in the UK.

HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Duchess of Cornwall visit refugee camp with UNHCR to highlight plight of Syrian refugees

Their Royal Highnesses met with Syrian refugees in Jordan on a visit hosted by UNHCR. Following the hour-long visit, Prince Charles said: “It's remarkable what UNHCR and others are doing to try and deal with this unbelievably difficult and heart-breaking situation.

18th June 2012: UNHCR report shows a record 800,000 people forced to flee across borders in 2011

UNHCR’s Global Trends report details the extent of forced displacement after 2011's string of major humanitarian crises, which resulted in a record number of refugees. The UK was 6th on the list of European destination countries for asylum seekers.

18th June 2012: Refugee Week - Britain’s refugee sporting heroes shine at Euros and Olympics

Refugees are making outstanding contributions to British sport, as those who have fled persecution compete in international events Euro 2012 and the Olympics this summer.

23rd February 2012 : UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) raises key concerns with the Detained Fast Track

The Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) John Vine, today releases an inspection of the Detained Fast Track (DFT) asylum procedure. In two independent audits of the DFT, UNHCR has identified the following key concerns.

22nd November 2011 : “Stateless people in the UK live in constant risk of human rights abuse” – UNHCR and Asylum Aid launch new report on stateless persons living in the UK

On November 22nd, UNHCR and Asylum Aid launch their joint report Mapping Statelessness in the UK.  

On the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, the report looks at the number and situation of stateless persons living in the UK, and recommends legal solutions to the plight into which stateless persons are forced.

14th November 2011- Statelessness: Nowhere People opens at Royal Albert Hall

Today (14 November) marks the opening at the Royal Albert Hall of Nowhere People: The Global Face of Statelessness, an exhibition by award-winning photographer Greg Constantine. The exhibition has been shown in New York, Washington, Geneva and Madrid and arrives in London before travelling on to Tokyo.

Nationality might seem like a universal birthright, but an estimated 12 million people are living without it. These stateless people have no legal identity, are citizens of no country and are some of the most vulnerable and invisible people in the world.

5th September 2011 - Donation from the Saïd and Asfari Foundations ensures urgently needed aid reaches Syrian refugees in Lebanon


On Friday 2nd September, UNHCR signed an agreement with the Saïd and Asfari Foundations to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The Foundations will donate GBP 485,874 to support 2,600 refugees who are being hosted by local communities in northern Lebanon.

The donation will ensure that the refugee population has adequate shelter and is assisted to meet basic needs especially as winter approaches, that health, hygiene and psychosocial needs are met, that all the refugee children receive education and that there are also benefits for the local host community.

28th July 2011 - UNHCR marks 60th anniversary of Refugee Convention

The Geneva Refugee Convention marks its 60th anniversary today as forced displacement becomes increasingly complex and as developing countries struggle to host the large majority of the world’s refugees.  

The UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees was formally adopted on July 28, 1951 to resolve the refugee problem in Europe after World War II.  This global treaty provides a definition of who qualifies as a refugee - a person with a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion - and spells out the rights and obligations between host countries and refugees. As the legal foundation on which UNHCR’s work is based, it has enabled the agency to help millions of uprooted people to restart their lives in the last 60 years.

Home Secretary Theresa May will this afternoon receive refugees for tea at the Home Office to celebrate World Refugee Day and the start of Refugee Week (20-26 June). During Refugee Week this year people up and down the country will be celebrating 60 years of contributions refugees have made to British society, as 2011 is the 60th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention created to save the lives of people being persecuted in their own countries. 

20th June 2011 - UNHCR report: 80% of world’s refugees in developing countries

A UNHCR report released today reveals deep imbalance in international support for the world’s forcibly displaced, with a full four-fifths of the world’s refugees being hosted by developing countries – and at a time of rising anti-refugee sentiment in many industrialised ones. UNHCR’s 2010 Global Trends report shows that many of the world’s poorest countries are hosting huge refugee populations, both in absolute terms and in relation to the size of their economies. Pakistan, Iran, and Syria have the largest refugee populations at 1.9 million, 1.1 million, and 1 million respectively. 

20th June 2011 - As British as Fish and Chips? Think again…

Where did Fish and Chips originate from? The UK? Wrong. 

This is just one of the top ten unexpected accomplishments by refugees in Britain, compiled to launch Refugee Week 2011. It will throw up a few surprises. 

Did you know, for example, that that the archetypal British car – the Mini – was created by a refugee? Or that some of Britain’s finest and most important buildings were designed and built by refugees? 

31st May 2011 - UNHCR & Magnum launch '60 Years 6 Lives' exhibition

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Refugee Week today launch a remarkable exhibition by award-winning Magnum photographer Ian Berry at Glasgow's Trongate 103 arts centre. '60 Years 6 Lives marks the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention and celebrates the lives of six refugees who have sought sanctuary in the UK in each of the decades since 1951, their photographs telling stories of personal struggle, courage and perseverance.

30th November 2010 - UNHCR's response to Channel 4's Dispatches: The Kids Britain Doesn't Want 

In response to issues raised by Channel 4s documentary 'Dispatches: The Kids Britain Doesn't Want', UNHCR Representative to the UK Roland Schilling, said:

"The position of the United Nations Refugee Agency is that detention of asylum seekers should as far as possible be avoided and that children in particular should not be subject to this practice. Strong efforts should be made to release detained children and their families to suitable alternative accommodation as soon as possible. Within this context, UNHCR welcomes the UK Governments stated intention to end the practice of detaining children...

11th November 2010 - Kenya's Nubians: Then and Now, exhibition by photograher Greg Constantine, 17th -26th November 4th June 2010

UNHCR presents Kenya's Nubians: Then & Now, the first London exhibition for photographer Greg Constantine. Combining rare, historical photographs of the Nubian community with Constantine's recent work on the community's struggle for recognition, the exhibition aims to tell the story of this little-known community who, as one Nubian elder described is, 'being squeezed into extinction'. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, UNHCR commissioned photographer Greg Constantine to spend a month photographing the Nubians, one of the communities in Kenya exposed to the risk of statelessness.

14th October 2010 - UN Refugee Chief uses Oxford University speech to call for international action on global refugee crisis

In a speech at Oxford University, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has raised the alarm about the diminishing space in which humanitarian organisations are obliged to operate. He said that the intractable nature of armed conflict is one of the most preoccupying challenges for UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations.

21st September 2010 - UNHCR report reveals DFT may be failing to protect asylum seekers

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today publishes key findings and recommendations from its report on the quality of decision-making in the Detained Fast Track (DFT), where asylum applications are processed under accelerated procedures in a detained environment.

14th June 2010 - UNHCR chief says 2009 "worst" year for voluntary repatriation in two decades

Some 43.3 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide at the end of 2009, the highest number of people uprooted by conflict and persecution since the mid-1990s, according to UNHCR's annual 2009 Trends report, released today. At the same time, the number of refugees voluntarily returning to their home countries has fallen to its lowest level in twenty years.

14th June 2010 - UNHCR says more attention needed for Afghan children on the move

Growing numbers of Afghan children are making a difficult and dangerous overland
journey to Europe, travelling without their parents and exposed to dangers and
human rights abuses, a new United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) report has found.

14th June 2010 - Living Silence: Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) presents 'Living Silence', a photographic exhibition of one of the world's most enduring refugee crises, by award-winning photographer Saiful Huq Omi.

23rd March 2010 - Zimbabweans nearly one in four amongst UK asylum seekers

Asylum applications in the United Kingdom over 2009 declined by five percent in comparison with the previous year, with 29,800 people seeking protection as refugees, the third lowest figure in 15 years according to a new UN refugee agency report.

16th March 2010 - Iraqi refugees cautious about return after landmark election.

Early results from Iraq's national election, widely seen as a test of its democracy and a step towards stability after years of sectarian conflict, brought mixed reactions from Iraqi refugees still concerned about the situation back home.

11th March 2010 - UNHCR seeks US $20 million to help tens of thousands of Congolese refugees

The UN refugee agency appealed on Tuesday for some US$20 million in funding to help it meet the needs of tens of thousands of civilians who have fled ethnic conflict in Democratic Republic of the Congo's Equateur province and sought shelter in neighbouring Republic of Congo.

4th March 2010 - Refugees watch Iraqi elections with doubts and hopes

Like many Iraqi refugees forced from their homeland by war and sectarian conflict, Murtada hopes parliamentary elections on March 7 will restore security to Iraq to facilitate the safe return of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis

25th February 2010 - UNHCR distributes vital aid to Haitian earthquake survivors and hosts

UNHCR distributes non-food aid items to about 8,000 quake survivors and host families in a poverty stricken and underdeveloped border area of Haiti.

22 February 2010 - UNHCR's help for displaced Zimbabweans produces tangible results

After waiting for hours outside a government registry office in the eastern Zimbabwe town of Mutare, Florence Nawengo had just been given a birth certificate, which will enable her to get an all-important national identity card.

10th February - UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie meets Haitian quake survivors

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie meets earthquake survivors and local and overseas aid workers after flying to Haiti to "listen and learn."

Youtube Video

Angelina Jolie Visits Haiti

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie visits Haiti to show solidarity with earthquake victims and the people assisting them. She said she came to the quake-ravaged country to listen and learn.