KATHMANDU/The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is organizing various sporting events for refugees in Nepal to celebrate the first-ever participation of a refugee team in the Rio Olympics.
“As the world cheers on Team Refugees in the Olympic games, we are pleased to commemorate the spirit, strength and resilience of refugees in Nepal,” said UNHCR Representative Kevin J. Allen. “We stand with refugees as they overcome diversity and achieve victories – both on the playing field and in everyday life.”
Ten refugee athletes from four countries are competing as part of the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janiero. Among them are two swimmers from Syria, two judo competitors from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and six runners from Ethiopia and South Sudan.
On Saturday, 13 August, the UNHCR office in eastern Nepal is organizing a 7.5 kilometer mini-marathon, which will include the participation of Bhutanese refugees and local Nepali residents.
Similarly, on Thursday, 18 August, sporting events including football, athletics, badminton and table tennis are being organized amongst the refugee and local communities in Kathmandu to celebrate the spirit of sportsmanship and diversity.
The sports activities coincide with the launch of UNHCR’s “With Refugees Campaign” – a global call for action to ensure that every refugee child gets an education, that every refugee family has somewhere safe to live, and that every refugee can work and learn new skills to make a positive contribution to their community.
The signatures of support collected from the campaign will be presented to UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants on 19 September in New York.
According to a press release issued by Deepesh Das Shrestha, senior external relations associates at UNHCR, since late 2007, UNHCR in Nepal has helped more than 104,000 refugees from Bhutan start new lives in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The agency also carries out a range of protection and assistance programs for some 14,000 refugees from Bhutan in the Beldangi and Sanischare camps in eastern Nepal.
UNHCR’s work in Nepal also includes providing protection and assistance to around 15,000 Tibetan refugees, 550 urban refugees of diverse nationalities and helping find solutions for people without access to citizenship certificates.