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It is a privilege for us here at UNHCR Korea to be able to welcome you on our website.  The fact that you came here means you are curious about our work on behalf of refugees and other displaced people.  Perhaps you want to become a part of the growing family of supporters of the UN’s Refugee Agency, UNHCR, and join the ranks of the many donors who already contribute generously to UNHCR and its work.  I hope that our website will live up to your expectation for information about our mandate, what we do, where and how we work.

It has only been a few months since I assumed my position as UNHCR’s country representative here in the Republic of Korea but I have quickly understood how great Korea’s support to the UN in general and to UNHCR in particular is.  The urge of many ordinary Koreans, the government and the corporate sector to help UNHCR make a difference for the over 40 million refugees, internally displaced as well as stateless people, is truly remarkable.  It warms my heart to see workers, students, businessmen, housewives sign up for regular monthly donations to UNHCR through this website, on the streets or on our hotlines.

Many of you may not know much about refugees and displacement; only few of you will remember their own experience of dark and despair during the Korean war when hundreds of thousands of your people were displaced to flee the bombing and fighting.  Our website should help you learn about UNHCR, today’s world’s refugees, displacement, as well as the protection, assistance and solutions we provide for those we are mandated to serve.

UNHCR was created more than 60 years ago, initially as a temporary agency, to deal with large numbers of refugees in Europe in the aftermath of World War II.  Today, UNHCR has grown into one of the world’s main humanitarian organizations dealing with an ever growing problem ? human displacement.  We provide, based on governments’ and people’s generous support, the very basic assistance needed to ensure refugees’ survival, safety and well-being. We do this with over 7,500 of dedicated staff working in over 120 countries and more than 200 locations.

On our website, you will find detailed information on the most pressing needs of refugees, about the major humanitarian crises in which UNHCR struggles to meet refugees’ basic needs.  You will also learn about some protracted situations where people have been in exile for many years, often as long as 10 or even 20 years.  You will see the particular plight of refugee women and girls for whom UNHCR has a special focus.  You will meet refugee children who make up more than half of the total refugee population and who are typically the most traumatized by what they have witnessed.  Children need our support most ? to give them not only food, water, shelter, clothes, basic health and emotional care but also the opportunity to continue their education.

Our website will also show you that UNHCR’s work doesn’t stop at just providing basic assistance.  We strive to empower refugees to lead dignified lives even in times of dark and despair, to give them hope for their future and find solutions to their plight.

This website is updated and enriched regularly.  Please come visit us often!
For the work we do, UNHCR relies entirely on voluntary contributions.  We need your generosity today and, unfortunately, for a long time to come.  We thank all of you, current and future donors and supporters for your generosity and care, and hope that this website will inspire you to give refugees and displaced people your hand and heart!

Dirk Hebecker


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