Photojournalist gets annual UN refugee award

9th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The UN refugee agency on Friday awarded its annual Nansen prize to a British photojournalist, Alixandra Fazzina, for her tireless close-up chronicles of the plight of those fleeing violence.

It was the first time since the 100,000-dollar Nansen Refugee Award was created 56 years ago that the prize went to a journalist, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.

"Alixandra Fazzina stands out as a fearless humanitarian who achieves something remarkable by unearthing and so vividly portraying individual stories of uprooted people," said the High Commissioner, Antonio Guterres.

Fazzina began her career as photo journalist following the British army in Bosnia, before shifting her focus to the plight of war victims and those fleeing their homes in Kosovo, Angola, Sierra Leone, Congo, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Her work has been published in major newspapers and magazines including Time, New York Times, The Guardian, The Sunday Times and German weekly Stern.

"I am overwhelmed and absolutely delighted to have been recognised by UNHCR and commended with this distinguished award," said Fazzina.

UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said Fazzina had more recently spent two years in war torn Somalia "with people on the run".

Fazzina said: "My aim has always been to raise awareness and of those forced to flee conflict violence and misery.

The award was set up in 1954 in honour of the first UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Fridtjof Nansen of Norway, to mark outstanding work on behalf of refugees.

© 2010 AFP

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