A young boy reading from a blackboard in a school.
¬© UNHCR  

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‚ÄčThe United Kingdom is a long-standing partner to UNHCR.

The United Kingdom’s support to UNHCR is steeped in history. Serving on UNHCR’s Advisory Committee since 1951, the United Kingdom is also a founding member of UNHCR's governing Executive Committee since 1959. The United Kingdom is a key donor to UNHCR, a strong advocate for the rights of refugees and other people of concern, and a strategic partner in the search for long-lasting solutions. 

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The United Kingdom is UNHCR’s second largest contributor of unearmarked funding in 2020. Flexible funding enables UNHCR to kick start emergencies, bolster underfunded situations and help operations implement programmes as fully as possible. Thanks to this type of funding, UNHCR was able to respond immediately to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis prioritizing the purchase of medical supplies and protective equipment among others. The Office also disbursed 3-months advanced unrestricted cash to vulnerable refugees and host communities who lost their income as a result of the pandemic, to help them meet their basic essential needs. The United Kingdom is a dedicated supporter of cash assistance, giving displaced people the dignity of choice and encourages self-reliance.  The United Kingdom’s funding lives up to the ideal set out in the Grand Bargain: multi-year contributions that enable UNHCR to plan ahead with confidence, therefore ensuring that refugees and other displaced people continue to have access to humanitarian assistance including clean water, shelter, healthcare, education as well as access to legal services and other life-saving assistance.  As a strategic partner to UNHCR, the United Kingdom supports the Office to ensure that protection is central across all humanitarian responses. The United Kingdom is a strong advocate for vulnerable groups of people and, to this end, it works closely with UNHCR to safeguard women, girls and people with disabilities who could be at further risk of gender-based violence or sexual exploitation and abuse. 

With the support from the United Kingdom, UNHCR was able to contribute to the safe reopening of schools in Turkana West Suc County, Kenya. COVID-19 containment measures in schools enable children to continue their education.

In responding to the impact of COVID-19, the United Kingdom, through UNHCR, supported more than 300,000 refugee children’s education by funding the salaries of over 5,500 teachers in refugee camps in 10 countries (Chad, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, and Yemen) across Africa, Asia and the Middle East and North Africa.

Grade 8 learners at Arid Zone Primary School attend a language lesson while wearing facemasks.
Grade 8 learners at Arid Zone Primary School attend a language lesson while wearing facemasks donated by the US Government through UNHCR. Mandatory wearing of facemasks is part of COVID-19 contaioment measures put in place by the Government to support the safe reopening of schools. ¬© UNHCR/ Samuel Otieno  

Ethiopians fleeing violence in Tigray region receive UNHCR assistance.

With over 3 million people of concern in Ethiopia in 2020, refugees fleeing the Tigray region are in great need of assistance. With the United Kingdom’s help, UNHCR can assist Ethiopian refugees in Sudan with shelter items such as blankets and mattresses.

An Ethiopian refugee collects blankets and mattresses at Hamdayet reception centre in Sudan, where days are intensely hot and night-time temperatures plummet..
An Ethiopian refugee collects blankets and mattresses at Hamdayet reception centre in Sudan, where days are intensely hot and night-time temperatures plummet. ¬© UNHCR/Olivier Jobard  

Front-line health workers prepare for action in the newly opened UNHCR Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) Isolation and Treatment Centre in Bangladesh.

With the help from the United Kingdom, UNHCR has opened 2 SARI ITCs in Cox's Bazar, which serve the needs of almost 200 refugees and local community members with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Hospital beds to serve the needs of almost 200 refugees and local community members in Cox's bazaar with severe COVID-19 symptoms .
UNHCR has opened 2 SARI ITCs in Cox's Bazar - the first in the District to serve the needs of almost 200 refugees and local community members with severe symptoms One SARI ITC is located in Kutupalong refugee camp with 50 beds, the second in the adjoining host community in Ukhiya. ¬© UNHCR  

Displaced people receive assistance during COVID-19 pandemic in Hudayah, Yemen.

The United Kingdom provided GBP20 million ($25 million) of flexible funding that helped UNHCR respond to the COVID-19 pandemic thus ensuring that millions of refugees received essential healthcare services and household items. This type of assistance allowed forcibly displaced to live safely thus guaranteeing that their human rights are protected.

Internally displaced Yemenis carry home mattresses and other basic household items, following a UNHCR aid distribution in Hudaydah.
Internally displaced Yemenis carry home mattresses and other basic household items, following a UNHCR aid distribution in Hudaydah. ¬© UNHCR/Olivier Jobard  
Total contributions in 2021 to date