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Last Updated: 2020.06.18

UNIQLO Provides Aid to Fight COVID-19 Epidemic Among Children of Refugees - Donates percentage of online sales of baby items to UNHCR

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Japanese global apparel retailer UNIQLO today announces that to mark World Refugee Day on June 20, it will donate a percentage of sales from baby items sold on the uniqlo.com online store to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to help refugee children who are especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 epidemic. A total of 10 million yen, or approximately U.S. $100,000, from the sale of baby items during the period June 19 - 26 will be used to provide aid to fight COVID-19 among refugee children and families. The donation will assist UNHCR respond to coronavirus with lifesaving support, including clean water, medical care, hygiene items and information to aid refugee families fight the infection and spread of the virus.

As per the UNHCR's latest Global Trends report, 79.5 million people around the world have become refugees or internally displaced persons for reason of conflict or persecution. The refugee camps or urban areas where they live are places of crowded conditions, without sufficient medical or sanitation facilities. According to UNHCR, as of May 20 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in 134 countries that host refugees. The risk of infection is high in refugee camps and preventing the spread of the disease in these locations is an urgent issue in terms of curbing the global pandemic.

Additionally, UNIQLO is conducting a campaign at UNIQLO TOKYO, its newest global flagship store that opens on June 19 in the Ginza district of Tokyo, to raise awareness of the refugee issue. During the three-day period from opening day through June 21, customers who bring UNIQLO and GU children's clothing they no longer need will be entered in a drawing in which 100 customers will receive charms made by refugees as part of a program to help them establish independence, along with other goods.

Yukihiro Nitta, Group Senior Vice President responsible for Sustainability at Fast Retailing commented: "Fast Retailing is a global business with operations in 25 countries and regions around the world. Fighting the spread of COVID-19 in the developing countries that are home to refugees, the people who are among the most vulnerable in the world, is a huge responsibility for us. Through our support to UNHCR, Fast Retailing is helping to protect refugees from the risk of infection and rebuild their lives over the longer term."

Christian Schaake, Head of Service, Private Sector Partnership, UNHCR, said: "In the COVID-19 pandemic, refugees need our support even more. Thanks to the generosity and support of UNIQLO, we can help deliver protection and assistance to the millions of people who have been forced to flee home due to violence and persecution. Let's all work together to protect and improve the lives of refugee children and their families. Everyone can make a difference. Every action counts."

Support for Refugees
UNIQLO parent company Fast Retailing is committed to supporting refugees. The refugee cause is a key component of its sustainability program. Since 2006, in cooperation with UNHCR, Fast Retailing has been providing clothing to refugees and displaced persons around the world.

In 2011, Fast Retailing became the first Asian company to sign a global partnership agreement with UNHCR and contribute to a more comprehensive solution to support those forced to flee.

Along with donating clothing collected through the All-Product Recycling Initiative, Fast Retailing is also assisting with refugee self-reliance programs, refugee employment at UNIQLO stores, raising awareness of refugee issues and sending Fast Retailing employee volunteers to countries receiving UNHCR support.

Key Initiatives

  • To date, over 36,570,000 clothing items collected through the All-Product Recycling Initiative launched in 2006 have been donated to refugee camps and other beneficiaries in 72 countries and regions (as of August 2019).
  • In 2011 UNIQLO began employing refugees at stores in Japan. Currently, a total of 121 refugees are employed as staff at UNIQLO stores in eight countries (as of April 2020: Japan 63, France 28, Germany 11, Italy 7, United States 6, Netherlands 3, Sweden 2, UK 1).
  • The Power of Clothing Project was launched in 2013 for elementary, junior high and high school students throughout Japan. A total of 198,120 students from 1,887 schools have participated in this program, which highlights the refugee cause and encourages the donation of children's clothing to refugees.
  • For a three-year period from 2016, Fast Retailing supported UNHCR livelihoods programs that provided more than 18,000 refugees in five Asian countries with vocational training in such areas as garment manufacturing and computer skills, as well as entrepreneurial support.
  • From 2011 to 2019 Fast Retailing contributed approximately US $12 million (around 1.3 billion yen) to UNHCR's refugee assistance programs.


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