World Refugee Day is celebrated across the globe amid record displacement of 70 million people
On June 20th, World Refugee Day is celebrated around the world to honour the strength and resilience of individuals and families that have been forcibly displaced from their countries as well as to increase awareness of their plight. The global community is showing its support by partcipating in solidarity marches, performances, and food festivals - showcasing the beauty of the various cultures that refugees descend from.
This comes at a time when the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has just released their annual Global Trends Report, which found that 70.8 million children, women, and men have been forced to flee their homes due to persecution, war, violence, or other human rights violations by the end of 2018. This is an increase of 20.3 million people in just the last year, twice as many as 20 years ago, and a global record high. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, addressed refugees today to recognize their resolve and said:
“Some countries are introducing restrictions that are hurting your access to asylum. Boats are hindered from rescuing drowning refugees. Peace talks are slow to bear fruit. But many generous countries and communities are still welcoming places. And new partners from development and the private sector are offering investment and expertise. Voices of humanity are holding their ground.”
Refugee relief organizations are calling on the global community to utilize World Refugee Day as an opportunity to build a greater international response to the record number of the forcibly displaced population and the difficulties they endure. The UNHCR is calling on the global community to join the challenge and #StepWithRefugees as an act of solidarity with the 1 billion miles they journey each year to reach the closest location of safety.
As Grandi emphasizes:
“We must ... redouble our solidarity with the many thousands of innocent people who are forced to flee their homes each day.”
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