Refugees and displaced people tend to move to cities in search of a sense of community, safety and economic independence. More often than not, however, they encounter harsh living conditions, harassment and poverty.

Hidden Lives is a multi-platform project, photographed in eight countries by Andrew McConnell, which aims to highlight the often difficult lives of urban refugees. Working in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the European Commission’s humanitarian aid and civil protection department (ECHO) the project gives a unique insight into the lives of those forced to flee their homes which challenges commonly held stereotypes.

Andrew McConnell travelled to urban centres in Africa, the Middle East, the Americas and Southeast Asia to document the reality of daily life for some of the millions of urban refugees.


Refugees from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


People displaced by the 2010 earthquake.


Syrian refugees who have fled the civil war.


Burmese refugees in Kuala Lumpur.


Refugees from Pakistan, the DR Congo, Sri Lanka, China and Vietnam.

United Kingdom

Refugees from Kosovo, Bosnia, Sudan and Afghanistan.


Ethiopian and Somali refugees in Nairobi.


Refugees from Bhutan and Iraq.

Hidden Lives

Published in The Guardian Weekend Magazine, BBC Pictures, AlertNet, Amnesty International NL, Mondiaal News Belgium, Sunday Times Magazine Spectrum, The Irish World