"I am Chihiro Saito – international UN Volunteer from Japan serving with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Serbia. I work as Associate Field Officer in a team that responds to the refugee and migrant situation in the country. As part of my assignment, I visit Reception and Transit Centers where most refugees and asylum seekers are housed. I am responsible for ensuring asylum seekers’ basic social service needs are met and human rights respected. I have attained so much knowledge and experience working with asylum seekers and refugees.
My name is Jelena Maric Lukovic. I serve as national UN Volunteer Resilient Programming Assistant with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Republic of Serbia.
Andrea Marilyn Pragashini Immanuel: “Refugees bring with them their culture, traditions, history and a truckload of experience. They strive through unimaginable hardship, incomprehensible misery and through it all find the strength to smile. They have taught me perseverance, to never give up hope even when everything fails and to strive hard. They have taught me to appreciate life, peace and prosperity.
World Refugee Day marks the need to show support to refugees all over the world, to stand with them in their plight, and honour the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.
Syria, seven years into the crisis and counting. Over 13 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance, and of these six million are internally displaced and five million fled to other countries. Majority of people affected by the crisis are children and youth; some children have no memories of life before the conflict.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme continues to demonstrate its ability to meet contemporary development and peace challenges. In 2016, UNV’s response to the refugee and migrant influx showcased this flexibility and rapid action capabilities through the deployment of hundreds of UN Volunteers who support humanitarian and development initiatives benefiting Syrian refugees and their host communities.
Responding to the refugee and migrant influx in Europe
UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator Toily Kurbanov participated in the joint Jobs Make the Difference side event at the Brussels Syria Conference. He offered valuable insight on the value of UN Volunteers and online volunteering in the reconstruction of Syria and the livelihoods of refugees in the region. The full transcript of his remarks is below.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is a global programme and a common service to the UN system administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). As we meet there are 4,200 UN Volunteers contributing to peace and development under various UN agency programmes around the world. This includes 350 volunteers in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt most of whom contribute to the regional response to the Syrian crisis.
An international meeting of United Nations representatives is underway today and tomorrow, January 23-24, in Helsinki to discuss and agree on a comprehensive relief plan to provide aid in strife-torn Syria. UN Volunteers are an essential part of the response to this humanitarian crisis. Highly qualified and largely from developing countries themselves, they provide relief and ensure the delivery of basic social services to refugees, as well as their host communities, and promote peace-building.
In 2015, I got the opportunity to become a UN Volunteer Child Protection Officer with UNICEF in Sudan. In a country severely affected by armed conflict, displacement and food insecurity, the humanitarian needs remain critical. In addition to an estimated 2.2 million people displaced internally, Sudan has received over a quarter of a million refugees fleeing the war in South Sudan. Approximate 70 per cent of these displaced people are children.