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“Unheard Stories” – Film Festival launched on World Refugee Day

“Unheard Stories” – Film Festival launched on World Refugee Day
Credit: A Year in Exile

The Facility for Refugees in Turkey is now hosting a one week online film festival “Unheard Stories” which started on World Refugee Day 2021 and will run until June 26th. The festival is organised by the European Commission and features films highlighting some of the unheard stories of refugees living around the world, and includes documentaries and live action productions, including short, medium and full-length entries.

Many of the films focus on the stories of Syrian refugees, including those living in Turkey, the country hosting the largest refugee population in the world. The EU is highly invested in supporting refugees and host communities in Turkey, by providing humanitarian assistance, access to education, health and protection services, as well as investing in municipal infrastructure, skills development and job creation.

There are over 100 projects on the ground in Turkey, a clear testimony of EU solidarity with refugees. The central mechanism to coordinate this support is the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, which has been implementing projects in support of refugees since 2016.

Many of the challenges and lived experiences of refugees in hosting countries are explored in the films you can see at the festival. The featured stories underline some of the common experiences of refugees, while highlighting individual voices.

The films being played are:

20 & 21 June: BALLAD FOR SYRIA


20 & 26 June: A YEAR IN EXILE

21 & 22 June: MARE NOSTRUM


22 & 23 June: WOMEN’S COUNTRY

24 & 25 June: MR. GAY SYRIA

24 & 25 June: BITTER BREAD

24 & 25 June: AZADI

25 & 26 June: GEVAR’S LAND

Discover more about the film festival here.


The Facility for Refugees is a key component of the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement. It marks a significant scaling-up of EU support to refugees in Turkey. The Facility combines €3 billion of EU budget and €3 billion of EU Member States contributions. The first tranche of €3 billion was mobilised in 2016-2017, and the second one in 2018-2019. Since 2016, the EU has been working with Turkish Ministries, EU Member States’ development banks, international financial institutions, UN agencies and NGOs to implement more than 100 refugee projects in Turkey.

Turkey has been hosting around 4 million refugees, the largest refugee community in the world. This includes 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees, and 330 000 registered refugees and asylum seekers mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Somalia. Turkey continues to make commendable efforts to receive, support, and host refugees and migrants, who have had a significant impact on the host communities. At present, there is no prospect this situation will change any time soon.

Therefore, the EU announced in July 2020 an additional €485 million to ensure the continuation of assistance. This amount comes on top of the €6 billion under the Facility.

Turkey also continues to benefit from regular EU humanitarian assistance for refugees, which amounted to €50 million in 2020.

Furthermore, the March 2021 European Council invited the Commission to present a proposal to the Council for the continuation of financing for Syrian refugees in Turkey as well as Jordan, Lebanon and other parts of the region, which will be discussed at the European Council on 24-25 June.

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