IPC-IG Staff in Brazil Show their Support for World Refugee Day with a Difficult Choice
If your family had one minute to flee home, what would YOU take?
Brasília, 20 June 2013 –
“On World Refugee Day the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, commemorates the strength and resilience of the more than 45 million people around the world forced to flee their homes due to war or persecution. Behind the casualty statistics are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters – tens of thousands of families who have left everything behind. Despite the vast amount of media coverage given over to the conflicts in Syria, Mali, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the focus is rarely on the human cost of war.”
According to the UNHCR, “in one minute a family can lose everything.” Given that the official number of refugees registered by the UNHCR in the last year alone stood at 10.4 million, World Refugee Day was created in 2000 to honor those faced with the unique challenge of international migration in compromised circumstances. Thus today the International Policy Center for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) staff connects with a global community that aims to provide hope and support for those deemed as refugees through an innovative social media campaign organized by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
This year the UNHCR campaign is focused on “the impact of conflict on families” and the UNHCR invited the public to post a photograph on the site www.acnur.org with the object they would take if given one minute to flee home. The photographs are then displayed on the interactive site.
The topic of refugees is closely related to the research of the IPC-IG on topics such as international migration, environmental justice, and gender studies. For example, according to the IPC-IG Poverty in Focus 23, “…increase of forced migration (both rural and regional) triggered by climate variability can create new social challenges in the provision of urban services, remittances, social justice.” It is the sincere hope of the IPC-IG that the following photographs serve to honor and connect with people around the world living as refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced, returnee and/or residing in regions with stateless populations. The following photographs depict members of the IPC-IG staff in Brazil with a single object the staff member would take if he/she had to immediately seek refuge in another country. Beneath each photograph please find the following information: the staff member name, country of origin, item name, and a brief description of why the item was chosen.
Name: Niccolò Natali
About the Item: This camera has 27 pictures. It requires no electricity to be used. I thought that as I already have my clothes and shoes, I would have been great having a tool to witness the refugee experience, not that big, resistant and transportable. I then thought that I would have liked to do a sort of temporal sequence establishing one day per month (the time range still is unclear) in which I would have taken a picture. This way it would have been a way for counting time too. I also thought about its potential as evidences recorder. Something like having an eye on the eventual atrocities that could have occurred.
About the Item: I would bring my camera to register the event and show the world the situation of the refugees. I would certainly call the attention to the situation because I deeply believe the pictures help us to bring the image of reality. It is important to understand that refugees seek asylum and assistance but mostly understand the reasons why these people need to leave their habitual residence and find ways of prevention and resettlement. I believe pictures bring the image of the needs and the work being done for these people.
Item: Smart Phone
About the Item: I would bring my smartphone because with the technology we have now, I can protect and access documents using the cloud and save documents and important data. As an IT manager, I can help to recover important data and support the resettlement. Information and technology are very important to refugees.
Name: Rovane Battaglin Schwengber
About the Item: “we must still dare to hope.”
Name: Kristy Lynn Wright
Country: United States of America
About the Item: This particular ring is a family heirloom that I have had in my family for over 90 years and it was given to me by a great aunt when I traveled to South America. It was my first time in Ecuador and since the age of 14 I haven’t taken it off. It is very special to me and if in a situation where I would need to flee, I would take this ring because to me it represents family, and when I am traveling or far away I am reminded that my family is always with me.
Name: Tamara Dias
About the item: If I had to flee the country all of a sudden, the first thing I would take with me is my dog Mandy. When disasters happen, animals are often left behind because there isn’t always enough time to get them whilst running away. In my view, I could never leave behind a living being, especially one that cannot defend herself. Thus my dog, alongside my family, would be the one thing I would make sure to protect when fleeing.
Name: Mariana Hoffmann
About the Item: Because I want to avoid having bad dreams while I am away from home or my family.
Name: Laeticia Rodrigues de Souza
Item: Esperança (Hope)
About the Item: “Fecho os olhos na esperança de encontrá-lo e só vejo as dúvidas trazidas pela saudade.” (Autora: Vera Waterkemper)
Name: André Matheus e Souza
About the Item: I brought my camera because, if nothing else, I’d like to be able to register everything I’d go through as a refugee. More often than not, our memories deceive us, but a camera always brings something new to the table. It brings a new perspective, it colors our memories with shades that, in the middle of the crisis, our minds can never register – or even, they would rather not recall.
Visit more about the UNHCR campaign here.
Hear a message from UNHCR supporter Khaled Hosseini.
By Lauren Core, IPC-IG/UNDP
More related publications by the IPC-IG:
“…these factors put millions of Africans at greater risk of poverty and hunger, imperil the region’s chances to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and, indeed, increase the likelihood of mass emigration.”
Short URL: http://pressroom.ipc-undp.org/?p=14531