The 2019 Nansen Refugee Award ceremony is about to begin at the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva, Switzerland.
© UNHCR/Mark Henley

Nansen Refugee Award

Kyrgyz lawyer is the 2019 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award winner

Azizbek Ashurov, a lawyer, whose work has supported the efforts of the Kyrgyz Republic in becoming the first country in the world to end statelessness, is the 2019 UN Refugee Agency’s Nansen Refugee Award winner.

Azizbek Ashurov, a lawyer, was honoured as the 2019 Nansen Refugee Award Laureate for his outstanding 16-year commitment to ending statelessness in Kyrgyzstan, ensuring that those left stateless by the break-up of the former Soviet Union finally have citizenship. At a prestigious event in Geneva’s Bâtiment des Forces Motrices, performances by Venezuelan singer Danny Ocean and Swiss musician Flèche Love set the scene for a celebration of Azizbek Ashurov’s ground-breaking work.

This film captures the highlights of the ceremony, including artists and performers, key note speakers and speeches from the UNHCR High Commissioner and the winner.

2019 Nansen Refugee Award Regional Winners

An activist who brings together communities torn apart by conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; a champion of LGBTI rights in El Salvador; a physiotherapist who gets injured Afghans back on their feet; a volunteer who helps Syrians start over in Jordan and an organization negotiating safe routes to Italy for refugees.

These are the every-day heroes going to extraordinary lengths to help forcibly displaced people in great need, who have been chosen as the regional winners of the UNHCR 2019 Nansen Refugee Award.

The prestigious annual prize honours individuals, groups and organizations who go to extraordinary lengths to protect refugees, displaced and stateless people around the world.

The regional winners for Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East were short-listed from more than 200 nominees.

They are:

  • Africa: Evariste Mfaume, the founder of NGO Solidarité des Volontaires pour l'Humanité in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who champions the rights of Congolese people displaced by conflict and also refugees and their host communities.
  • Americas: Bianka Rodriguez from El Salvador, a young trans woman and executive director of NGO COMCAVIS TRANS, who advocates for the rights of forcibly displaced LGBTI people in the country.
  • Asia: Alberto Cairo, a physiotherapist in Afghanistan and head of the International Committee of the Red Cross orthopaedic programme, who has dedicated almost 30 years of his life to providing prosthetic limbs and helping find jobs for injured Afghans.
  • Europe: Humanitarian Corridors, a ground-breaking cross-border initiative established with the Italian Government in 2015 to enable particularly vulnerable refugees to start a new life in safety in Italy.
  • Middle East: Abeer Khreisha, a community volunteer in Jordan, known as ‘the mother of Syrians’ for her work helping refugees.