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‘Voices for Refugees’ campaign aimed at mobilising support for displaced civilians, refugees

By JT - Jun 29,2015 - Last updated at Jun 29,2015

Omar sits for a portrait in the stairwell of the building where he and his family live as refugees in Lebanon (Photo courtesy of UNHCR)

AMMAN — The UN Refugee Agency has launched online campaign “Voices for Refugees” to mobilise support for internally displaced people and refugees in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by local communities, according to a statement. 

“While the Syrian conflict continues for a fifth year, and many conflicts in the region and beyond exacerbate the humanitarian crisis for displaced persons and refugees, voices from the region should take centre stage to empower action that showcases support, generates awareness and drives impact,” Nabil Othman, UNHCR’s acting regional representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, was quoted in the statement as saying.

According to UNHCR statistics, by the end of 2014, worldwide displacement reached 59.5 million, the highest level ever recorded. One-third of the world’s conflicts that generate displacement have erupted or reignited in the MENA region. 

The Middle East is the world's largest producer and host of forcibly displaced people. More than 3 million, or 21 per cent, of the world’s refugees are in the region, mainly from Syria.

More than 12 million Syrians have been affected directly by the conflict in their country. 

According to recent estimates, 7.6 million Syrian civilians have been displaced internally, while 3.98 million (as of June 2015) are registered refugees in neighbouring and overseas countries, said the statement which was made available to The Jordan Times from Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Turkey hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees at 1.77 million.Syrian refugees in the Middle East are also spread across Egypt (134,329), and in Iraq (249,656). 

Lebanon is the third-largest refugee-hosting country. As of June 2015, Lebanon hosts 1.17 million refugees. 

Jordan ranked as the world’s sixth-largest refugee-hosting country.

“'Voices for Refugees' is reaching out to host and neighbouring communities that are impacted socially and economically on a macro level. 'Voices for Refugees' goes beyond compassion and solidarity.

“While we continue to focus with our partners in the region on on-the-ground programmes, we believe that refugees need voices of support. These voices will drive awareness, action and inspiration but most importantly it is a message of unified destiny and aspiration,” Othman added.

Using a simple online registration mechanism, supporters can sign up to become voices through the online portal: www.voices.unhcr.org.

The campaign’s dedicated Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Voices4Refugees) communicates in English and Arabic, and generates higher levels of engagement among Arabic speaking communities. 

Voices for Refugees will also highlight UNHCR’s efforts to track refugees’ stories of hope and inspiration through its online platform.

 

In May this year, only 23 per cent of the total $4.5 billion appeal for Syrian refugees in 2015 was covered. 

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