World Refugee Day was established by the UN General Assembly in late 2000 and is marked each year on 20 June. The United Nations decided that refugees should have a special day, when we think of them and show our support.
The first World Refugee Day was on 20 June 2001 and it’s been celebrated the strength and courage of millions of refugees worldwide. every year since then.
Every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.
A Refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country owing to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”, according to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention. Many refugees are in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters.
Across the world there are currently over 65 million people who have had to leave their homes. Some have settled in new countries; many more are living in refugee camps, waiting for it to be safe enough to go home or to be resettled in a different country.
Sixty-five million people means that nearly one in 100 people in the world is a displaced person or refugee. We are now facing the worst refugee crisis in history. The number of refugees has doubled in the last twenty years. The situation is clearly worse in some countries than in others. Fifty-five per cent of refugees worldwide come from Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan. Since the start of the war, more than 5.6 million Syrians have escaped the country and 6.1 million are still living in Syria but have had to leave their homes. Around half of these 11 million people are children.
A refugee crisis on this scale is difficult to deal with, but the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, reminds us that ‘the problems are war and hatred, not people who flee.’ World Refugee Day is about raising awareness of the situation and showing the refugees that together we can work to end the crisis and help displaced people to find safe and happy homes.
Messages of Angelina Jolie: