In early March, Rwanda’s Ministry of Health rolled out its countrywide COVID-19 vaccination campaign, beginning with high-risk groups such as health workers, teachers and older people. More than 230,000 people have so far received their first injection.
The country, which hosts nearly 138,000 refugees, is one of the first in Africa to include refugees in its vaccination rollout.
“I feel so privileged,” said Samira, one of more than 300 refugees to receive the first dose of the vaccine at the Emergency Transit Mechanism Centre in Gashora.
Samira arrived at the centre two months ago, one of hundreds of refugees that UNHCR has helped leave Libya, where weak rule of law and ongoing conflict have placed refugees in danger from human traffickers, smugglers and militia.
“It means a lot to me to be able to be free like this in Rwanda,” Samira said.
UNHCR has been advocating for the equitable inclusion of refugees, internally displaced and stateless populations through the COVAX Facility, a global initiative that brings together governments and manufacturers to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines eventually reach those in greatest need.
In January this year, UNHCR supported the transportation of 43 elderly refugees from Za’atari Camp in Jordan to the nearby Department of Chest Infection Health Clinic in Mafraq to receive vaccinations. They were among the first refugees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge.
“As UNHCR, we advocated with the Ministry of Health to open this centre and serve the refugees who wanted to be vaccinated, especially the elderly,” said UNHCR Public Health Officer Iyad Shtayiat.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, refugees have been generously included in the Government of Jordan’s national response plan, able to access health care and medical treatment on par with Jordanian citizens.
“Once again Jordan has shown exemplary leadership and solidarity in hosting refugees. The country has included refugees in every aspect of the public health response to the pandemic, including the national vaccination campaign, proving how it should be done if we are to keep everyone safe,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
Iraqi refugee Raia hopes life will be more relaxed now that she has received a COVID-19 vaccination.
Raia and her husband Ziad – a trained doctor – were among the first UNHCR-registered refugees in the world to be vaccinated against the virus.
Originally from Baghdad, Raia and Ziad fled the Iraq conflict in 2006 and sought safety in Jordan. In January, they both received the Sinopharm vaccine developed in China after being prioritised due to Ziad’s chronic diseases which placed him in the high-risk category.
“We just want life to be back to normal,” Raia said after receiving the vaccination.
“The vaccine is the right way of doing this.”
Close cooperation between UNHCR and the Government of Jordan and the Ministry of Health, as well as the strong adherence of refugees to prevention measures, has been key in limiting the spread of the virus among these vulnerable populations.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, UNHCR has rushed urgent supplies and core relief items to millions of refugees and displaced people, including water, medical care and hygiene materials.
As of January 2021, UNHCR has procured more than 2,000 oxygen concentrators, 41.2 million masks, 2.8 million gowns, 195 ventilators and delivered 380 metric tons of personal protective equipment and medical items.
Meanwhile, more than 9.3 million refugees and internally displaced persons accessed protection services, including gender-based violence and child protection services, and 3.9 million refugees accessed essential health services.
As vaccinations roll-out across the globe, UNHCR is continuously advocating at country, regional and global levels for refugees and other people to be included in international strategies.
To date, 51 out of the 90 countries currently developing national COVID-19 vaccination strategies have included refugees in their vaccination plans.
“We are engaged in discussions and decision-making processes with COVAX, the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries,” said Mike Woodman, a UNHCR senior public health officer.
“We are working with international partners to ensure that ‘leaving no one behind’ and ‘equitable access to vaccines’ are not just phrases, but practice.”
You can help
Collection of Personal Information
Australia for UNHCR follows the Australian Privacy Principles in handling personal information; we collect personal information about individuals including supporters, employees, contractors, volunteers, special representatives/delegates and job applicants. This information may be collected directly from you in person, by phone or email, on hard copy donation forms, via our website or social media. We may also collect your personal information from publically available sources or third parties.
Use of Personal Information
The personal information we collect and hold generally includes contact details (i.e. name, address, email and phone number), personal details including date of birth, and credit card or bank accounts details.
We use the personal information you provide us with for the purpose for which it was provided to us, other related purposes or as permitted or required by law. Generally we collect and use your personal information for:
As detailed below we also use your information in our marketing and fundraising activities, keeping you informed of our latest news, campaigns and appeals or about campaigns and appeals which may be of interest to you. We may also offer you the opportunity to participate in surveys carried out by Australia for UNHCR or its agents.
By completing our donation and pledge forms you consent to Australia for UNHCR storing your personal information for processing donations, communicating with you, issuing receipts and sharing with our trusted service providers. We will endeavour to provide you with an opportunity to opt out of receiving future communications and make every effort to ensure that our opt-out notices are clear and easy to follow. If you do not wish to receive future communications from Australia for UNHCR or wish to limit the use of your personal information then please contact our Donor Care Team; contact details are included at the bottom of this policy.
We use your personal details to assist in the cost-effective development of our marketing and fundraising activities by sending you information by post, email, SMS or telephone. As we have a large number of supporters, at times we use external providers to assist with our telemarketing and mailing. We will take reasonable steps to ensure that our contracts with third parties include requirements for third parties to comply with the use and disclosure requirements of the Privacy Act and the Australian Privacy Principles.
Disclosure and Sharing of Personal Information
We occasionally invite other like-minded and trusted organisations in Australia to contact you with information that may be of interest. This allows Australia for UNHCR to increase its base of supporters and reach more people with our vital message.
Any personal contact information you provide to us may be disclosed, if appropriate, to third parties who provide services on our behalf. We may also disclose your personal information to our volunteers who assist with many of our events and administration duties.
Strict confidentiality agreements are in place with our service providers and external agencies, and with staff and volunteers who handle your personal information. We will only disclose your personal information for the purposes for which it was initially collected, other directly related purposes or purposes to which you otherwise consent.
Other than as stated above, we will not share your personal information. However, it is possible, though unlikely, that we might be forced to disclose personal information in response to legal processes or when we believe in good faith that the law requires it, for example, in response to a court order, subpoena or a law enforcement agency's request.
If you do not wish Australia for UNHCR to share your personal information with like-minded and trusted organisations in Australia, you may opt out by ticking the related boxes on our donation pledge forms or by contacting our Donor Care team; contact details are included at the bottom of this policy.
Access and Correction of Personal Information
Australia for UNHCR will correct its records containing personal information as soon as practically possible at the request of the individual concerned in accordance with the Privacy Act. We take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information that we collect and hold is accurate, complete and up-to-date. However, we rely on you to advise us of any changes to your personal information to help us maintain accurate, complete and up-to-date information.
We will, on request, provide you with access to the personal information we hold about you unless otherwise required or permitted by law. We will notify you of the basis for any denial of access to your personal information.
Individuals wishing to lodge a request to access and/or correct their personal information should do so by contacting our Donor Care Team; contact details are included at the bottom of this document.
Quality of Personal Information
Australia for UNHCR will review, on a regular and ongoing basis, its collection and storage practices to ascertain how improvements to accuracy can be achieved. We may utilise the services of third parties in order to maintain accurate personal information. Where such disclosure is made, we take reasonable steps to require these organisations comply with the Australian Privacy Principles.
Storage and Security of Information
We strive to protect your personal information, that it is protected from misuse, loss, interference and unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. For example, whenever we ask for your financial details online, we use industry standard security on our website forms.
No data transmission over the internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result, while we strive to protect your personal information, Australia for UNHCR cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to us over the internet, and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your transmission, we make our best effort to try and ensure its security both on our systems and while in transit between our systems and the companies who provide us with various services. Third party service providers may use data centres overseas or be located overseas. If you do not wish to make your financial contribution online, please contact our Donor Care Team to receive a hard copy form; contact details are included at the bottom of this policy.
Making a Privacy Complaint
We will manage your complaint in accordance with our Complaints Policy. You will need to provide us with sufficient details regarding your complaint as well as any supporting evidence and/or information. We will contact you if we require any additional information from you and will notify you in writing of the outcome of the investigation. If you are not satisfied with our determination, you can contact us to discuss your concerns. If your complaint is about the way we handle your personal information, you may also contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner by calling 1300 363 992, online at www.oaic.gov.au or writing to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
A4U does not have an establishment in the European Union (EU), does not offer goods or services to individuals in the EU and does not monitor behaviour of individuals as far as their behaviour takes place in the EU. Individuals located in the EU should contact UNHCR’s National Representatives in their respective countries or via the global UNHCR website.
Online Activity and Privacy
Cookies are small text files which are downloaded to and stored on your device when you visit a website. Cookies are widely used by website owners to provide you with a good experience while you browse, and also to provide information which can help website owners to improve websites.
What cookies do we use and for what purposes?
The cookies used on our site fall into four categories – strictly necessary cookies, functional cookies, performance cookies and advertising cookies. Each of these categories is explained below along with details of the specific cookies used, though within each category we may use additional or alternative cookies at any time.
1. Strictly necessary cookies
These cookies are essential for our site to work, for example to allow you to make a donation, submit a service request or register for an event on our site.
2. Functional cookies
These cookies enhance your experience whilst using the site by recognising you when you return to our site; for example, by remembering your content or accessibility preferences.
3. Performance cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use our websites, such as which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies do not collect personal information; all information collected by these cookies is aggregated and therefore anonymous.
4. Advertising cookies
These cookies contain campaign related information on or for the user. Remarketing is a way for us to connect with people who have recently interacted with our site. We may place remarketing cookies on your device during your visit so that our preferred selected third-party suppliers, including Google, may use the information gathered to show you relevant Australia for UNHCR advertising when you visit other websites. If we have linked our Google Analytics and AdWords accounts, AdWords website conversion tags will read these cookies unless you opt-out.
5. Third party cookies, pixels and SDKs
To find out more about cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them on a wide variety of desktop browsers, visit www.aboutcookies.org or www.aboutads.info/choices
If you do not wish to receive any cookies you may set your browser to either prompt you to accept cookies on each visit or refuse all cookies.
Most internet browsers automatically accept cookies unless you change your browser settings. If you wish to restrict, block or delete the cookies which are set by any websites, you can generally do this through your browser settings. These settings are usually found in the 'options' or 'preferences' menu of your internet browser.
Please note however, that if you set your internet browser preferences to block all cookies, you may not be able to access all or parts of our site. Unless you have adjusted your internet browser settings to block cookies, our site will set cookies.
Our website and mobile site may contain links to online forums. Think carefully before you post or publish any Personal Information in these forums as it will be publicly available.
Secure Online Transactions
If you make a donation via our website, we process your credit/debit card details securely using an accredited internet payment security system. With the combination of SSL encryption on our website and a secure browser at your end, we take all reasonable measures to ensure that your credit/debit card and personal information are protected when you donate online. We also recommend that you take appropriate security precautions when accessing the internet via public Wi-Fi networks or shared computers.
If you have any questions about your privacy, wish to access or change your details, how to lodge a complaint regarding the handling of your information and how that complaint will be handled by Australia for UNHCR, please contact our Donor Care Team: