The IJF hopes to further develop its Judo for Peace programmes with the latest Memorandum of Understanding ©IJF

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency and the International Judo Federation (IJF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop Judo for Peace programmes and activities to help support refugee inclusion.

The UNHCR and the IJF have been working together for several years to help the refugee community.

The MoU represents an increased commitment to the partnership and will focus on the inclusion of refugees in sports with emphasis on social cohesion, development, child protection and gender equality.

"It is our great pleasure and honour to sign this important Memorandum of Understanding with the UNHCR at a global level," said IJF President Marius Vizer.

"Through establishing Judo for Peace activities and implementing the judo values and principles, we foster a better social integration of refugees and generally speaking of everyone.

"We are sure that hundreds of thousands around the world enjoy the practice of judo and we hope that by signing this partnership we will infuse a new energy and give more amplitude to what has already been done for several years.

"Be sure that the International Judo Federation will continue to do its best in the future to ensure that everyone has access to the sport and can enjoy its values."

The collaboration will increase access to sporting and cultural facilities and activities in refugee-hosting areas, as well as supporting talent detection to offer new opportunities to refugees.

"It is a historic moment," said Vlad Marinescu, IJF director general.

"Sports and judo in particular have the power to change lives and futures.

"Through our support programme, we were able to have several refugee athletes in Tokyo last summer and for the first time the refugee team participated in the mixed team event.

"Through this partnership with UNHCR, we will be able to solidify our programmes and contribute to the betterment of society at a global level."

The IJF claim that the relationship between the governing body and the UNHCR has led to development of stable programmes in Turkey, Zambia, South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe.