UNHCR releases new video in support of the Olympic and Paralympic teams of refugee athletes

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today released an unprecedented video on social media calling on the world to support the Olympic and Paralympic Refugee Teams. At the heart of this global campaign is “The Journey” (“The Journey”) – a video of just over 1 minute that dramatically describes the extraordinary stories of refugee athletes aspiring to this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Released on the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (April 6), “The Journey” dramatizes the story of a refugee forced to leave his home on foot to escape conflicts and persecution. Traveling by land and sea, she ends up finding safety, restoring her life and starts running towards a new goal: a medal.

Created with the collaboration of two participants in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refugee athlete scholarship program, the social media film highlights the power of sport to bring hope and change in the lives of all people who have been forced to leave their country .

Currently, 60 refugee athletes and para-athletes train with the hope of competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. UNHCR is working with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to support current refugee athletes who, despite the challenges of forced displacement and the COVID-19 pandemic – continue to train to keep their dreams of competing in Tokyo alive.

As the humanitarian agency that leads the global protection response to people forced to leave their homes and communities due to wars and conflicts, UNHCR knows that sport is more than a leisure activity: it has the power to bring hope and help refugee people to regain control over their future.


With more than 80 million people forced to move around the world, UNHCR works closely with governments, the sports world, business, academia, civil society and refugees to build a better world in which each person forced to move – including people with disabilities – can access and participate in sports activities at all levels.

Ethiopian refugee Yonas Kinde crossing the finish line of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games marathon. (Photo: UNHCR / Benjamin Loyseau)

“A Jornada” was created for UNHCR, in partnership with the IOC and IPC, by the award-winning agency “Don’t Panic” and directed by the collective of directors Pantera through the production company “Anonymous Content”.

“The story of ‘The Journey’ is similar to mine and that of my fellow refugee athletes. I am training hard in the hope of reaching Tokyo. I want to help people everywhere to better understand the lives of refugee people and the power of sport to change lives. I hope people support the great Olympic and Paralympic refugees, ”says Rose Nathike Lokonyen, who was part of the Olympic refugee team at the Rio Olympics (2016) and collaborated with UNHCR in the production of the film. She is a refugee from South Sudan and lives in Kenya.

“We are very proud to support refugee athletes training for the Olympic and Paralympic games. Despite all the setbacks, these extraordinary and extraordinary athletes have kept the dream of representing millions of refugees from around the world alive. Together with our IOC and IPC partners, we are dedicated to building a world in which all people forced to flee – including those with disabilities – can access the right to play sports and play at all levels, ”says Dominique Hyde, Director of Relations UNHCR External Relations.

In the month that UN Brasil promotes Sustainable Development Goal # 3 to “ensure a healthy life and promote well-being for all, at all ages”, UNHCR reinforces sport as a means of peaceful and harmonious coexistence among children , young people, adults and the elderly in their communities, regardless of their nationality.

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