The Government of Japan and UNIQLO provide assistance to refugee children and families in Serbia
21 August 2019
Belgrade, 7 April 2016 – The Japanese company UNIQLO, as UNICEF’s global partner, has provided a total of 6,500 pieces of clothing to help refugee and migrant children in Serbia, some of which were distributed during the winter months. Today, in the Transit and Reception Centre for Refugees and Migrants in Adaševci, UNICEF started the distribution of the spring and summer clothes UNIQLO has provided for children and babies who are stranded in Serbia.
UNICEF’s response to the refugee and migrant crisis is made possible by its donors and partners, and thanks to the Government of Serbia, which has authorised UNICEF’s presence in the refugee centres.
The hand-over ceremony was attended by Mr. Vladimir Cucić, the Commissioner for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia, the Ambassador of Japan to Serbia, H.E. Mr. Juichi Takahara, and UNICEF and UNHCR Representatives in Serbia, Mr. Michel Saint-Lot and Mr. Hans Friedrich Schodder.
In addition to last year’s financial support to UNICEF and UNHCR for their work connected to the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe, the Government of Japan in 2016 provided an additional grant of US $4.57 million in response to the refugee and migrant crisis in Serbia.
The funds allocated to UNICEF in Serbia have been used to support children and women refugees and migrants and for the provision of adequate and safe child-friendly and mother-and-baby spaces, nutrition and winterization items; while UNHCR has been using its part of the allocation for the "Emergency support for refugee crisis in Serbia, Europe" project.
“Children are among the most vulnerable categories of migrants and any help is highly appreciated. The Government of the Republic of Serbia has been investing great efforts to provide the best answers to the serious migratory challenges. One of these responses was the refurbishment of the Adaševci motel into the Transit and Reception Centre. Cooperation with UNICEF has always been at a high level and this partnership will be nurtured in the future as well. I use this opportunity to extend our gratitude for the donation to the Government of Japan and UNICEF,” said Mr. Vladimir Cucić, the Commissioner for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia.
"Serbia is not the cause of the refugee crisis, nor is it the preferred destination of refugees. Regardless, the Government of Serbia, local authorities and the citizens of Serbia have acted in a responsible manner and provided assistance to the refugees in transit. The Government of Japan has recognised this humane behaviour and has provided support to Serbia, through international organisations such as UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDP, IOM and IFRC. Japan also provides direct assistance to the municipalities affected by the migrant crisis,” said Ambassador Takahara, adding that Japan would continue to support Serbia in the hope that the Serbian Government will continue to have a humane approach to refugees who are stranded in Serbia.
UNICEF in Serbia’s Representative, Mr. Michel Saint-Lot stressed that UNICEF’s emergency assistance to refugees and migrants was focused on children. “I want to thank the Government of Japan for its continuous support to UNICEF’s work, in Serbia and globally. The Japanese generous financial contribution has helped UNICEF secure safe places for refugee and migrant children to rest, play and receive psychosocial support by qualified professionals, and also for women to breastfeed in privacy and prepare and provide age-appropriate food to their children. UNIQLO’s donation of clothes complement the supplies of both winterization and summer items we have been securing for children and babies.”
Addressing the media, Mr. Hans Friedrich Schodder, UNHCR Representative in Serbia said: “The Government of Japan is one of the biggest donors to UNHCR operations worldwide. In Serbia, we have enjoyed continuous, unfailing cooperation since the early 1990s. Thanks to the generous contribution of the Government of Japan, last year we have provided direct assistance, improved the accommodation and sanitation conditions in the reception centre in Presevo where the refugees have been assisted from the very onset of the crisis. Over the next 12 months, UNHCR will continue providing basic legal and medical assistance, enhancing the work of our partners’ mobile teams and further improving the living conditions of persons of our concern. We look forward to continuous good cooperation and joint actions.”