On 19 August, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, and UNIQLO, a global retailer giant, commemorate World Humanitarian Day by distributing clothing to some 750 families displaced by the Marawi conflict. This marks the second visit by the partnership to the besieged city of Marawi.
“Two years after the conflict, while the Philippine Government continues its recovery and rehabilitation efforts, displaced and returned families in Marawi remain facing significant challenges, such as lack of access to basic services and insufficient livelihood opportunities. Today, we honor the world’s humanitarians by joining the affected communities most in need through the provision of humanitarian assistance,” said Shinji Kubo, UNHCR Representative to the Philippines.
Nearly 2,300 families remain displaced and stay in transitory sites in Marawi City. In one of the three government-run transitory shelters, UNIQLO joined the commemoration of World Humanitarian Day with UNHCR culminating the event with the distribution of 5,000 pieces of clothing as part of its commitment to helping forcibly displaced people throughout the world.
Through its innovative All-Product Recycling Initiative and partnership with UNHCR, globally, UNIQLO has distributed 30,290,000 garments in 65 countries and regions. In the Philippines, UNIQLO has donated close to one million items of clothing to families in need in relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan affected communities in 2014 and for those forcibly displaced by the armed conflict in Zamboanga in 2015. In 2018, two clothing distribution activities were conducted in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, and Marawi City for Maranao families hosted in evacuation camps and transitory shelters.
UNHCR and UNIQLO are no strangers to each other as the two organizations have worked in partnership since 2006 to provide life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable. “UNIQLO has been a staunch global humanitarian partner of UNHCR for many years, in many aspects of our work that extends beyond providing clothing. UNIQLO also supports self-reliance and livelihood programs in Asia, enhancing protection and empowerment for the refugees and internally displaced populations,” said Kubo.
Honoring Women Humanitarians
On the tenth year of commemorating World Humanitarian Day, UNHCR is also honoring the women humanitarians around the world. These individuals play vital roles in every aspect of humanitarian action across the world, making up an estimated 43 percent of the total humanitarian workforce.
“Today is profoundly important, as it is the very day that honors aid workers, and reminds the international community of their obligations to protect them, and the life-saving work they do,” said Kubo. “It’s also important to remind the world that a big portion of aid workers are women, whose strength, determination and perseverance are very much needed on the front lines in some of the world’s most difficult and dangerous settings.”
UNHCR has been closely working with the Government and the people of the Philippines over the past 30 years, focusing on three pillars: providing durable solutions to refugees in line with the Global Compact on Refugees, ending and reducing statelessness under the #IBELONG campaign, and enhancing a protected environment for the forcibly displaced. In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, UNHCR co-leads the Protection Working Group under the leadership of the Ministry of Social Services.
The fighting in Marawi City in 2017 has displaced more than 353,000 people, and to this day, thousands continue to live in displacement. UNHCR remains committed to helping displaced families and communities rebuild their lives with life-saving aid and in rebuilding their lives in safety and indignity. Visit https://donate.unhcr.ph now to help protection internally displaced communities in Mindanao.