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22.01.2008 15:16

"We will bring hope to refugees"

Marc Parramon (special reporter)

FC Barcelona and ACNUR signed a collaboration agreement in Geneva today for a three-year period. The first refugee action programmes involving Barça will be applied in Rwanda, Nepal and Ecuador.

The president of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta, and the High Commissioner of UNHCR/ACNUR, António Guterres, signed an agreement at midday today by which the football club will be adapting some of the Foundation’s programmes to different refugee camps in different parts of the world.

A challenge

HCLaporta8l-9400.jpgThe agreement was signed on Tuesday at the UNHCR/ACNUR headquarters in Geneva. According to Joan Laporta, this is further evidence of Barça’s commitments. “This is our next big challenge” he said. “We are ready to score lots of goals.”

Barça have constantly shown that they mean it when they speak about commitment to charity programmes. It is actions, not words, and “yet again, we are sending a message to the world, but as always, it is not just a message. It is also about actions” stressed Laporta.

Meanwhile, the ACNUR high commissioner, António Guterres outlined the importance of this agreement when he said “we believe Barça will open a lot of doors for us in order to make society understand about the plight of refugees.” An agreement of these characteristics is so important because "FC Barcelona and its Foundation have a high capacity for communication. Associating sport with education is a formidable thing" said Guterres.

Three year agreement

HCLaporta9l-9433.jpgThe agreement will be in place, in principle, for three years, and the first 12 months will be focused on Rwanda, Nepal and Ecuador, three countries that host thousands of refugees from other territories.

On the basis of this agreement, the FC Barcelona Foundation will be adapting three of its action programmes (XICS, JES and Juégala!) to the boys and girls living in refugee camps in these countries. These programmes use sport as a tool for education and social integration, two of the main priorities of ACNUR’s humanitarian work.

Raising awareness

Another aim of the alliance is to raise society’s awareness of the extreme vulnerability of the millions of refugees in the world and to show how sport can be used in education and social integration.
Photos: UNHCR/ H.Caux
Photos: UNHCR/ H.Caux
Third historic agreement
The agreement with UNHCR/ACNUR follows on from other historic agreements Barça have made with Unicef and Unesco. These are a way in which FC Barcelona is able to consolidate its desire to become “more than a club in the world” through solidarity, cultural and educational work aimed at children and young people living in underprivileged conditions.

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