World Refugee Day
Can you imagine what it would feel like to be forced to flee your country, home, and community? Can you imagine the difficulties you would face, and the loss you would feel. Every minute, 20 people go through this horrible experience and become refugees. You might be a refugee or have a friend who is.
It’s vital that we all support refugees in a world of violence, persecution, war, and thousands fleeing each day. What better way to do this than World Refugee Day? This day is a special occasion that aims to increase awareness and empathy for the sufferings of displaced people, and celebrate all refugees around the globe.
Although the idea of seeking refuge in a holy location is a common practice, international efforts to protect refugees began in the 20th century with the creation of the High Commission for Refugees by the League of Nations in 1921. Although the original purpose of the Commission was to assist people fleeing the Russian Revolution, it has since expanded to provide assistance for refugees from other countries.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established in Switzerland in 1950. It is the principal organization responsible for protecting and supporting refugees today. Only Palestinian refugees fleeing the 1948 war with Israel will be taken care of by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
People have fled persecution and terror all around the globe over the past century from countries like Turkey, Germany, Spain, and Armenia. Many refugees have fled countries like Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan in recent decades. Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon are the largest hosts of refugees. Around 70 million people are currently displaced around the world, or just 1 in 100. Over half of those displaced people are children, many of them alone or separated from their families.
The UN General Assembly created World Refugee Day on December 4, 2000 to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Conventions established many rights for refugees, including the ability to work and education, as well as the freedom to travel. The date 20 June was chosen to coincide with the Africa Refugee Day (OAU), which was celebrated on that date before 2001.
Every year, the theme is different, with events taking place in more than 100 countries. This day is intended to increase awareness and support the suffering of refugees and honor their courage and perseverance.
Although there are many definitions of the term “refugee”, it is generally defined as someone who fled their country to seek refuge elsewhere. The right to non-refoulment is a right that allows refugees to flee from various threats such as war or persecution. An individual is not considered an asylum seeker until they have been granted refugee status by either their host country or the UNHCR. People who flee their home but remain in the same country are called internally displace persons (IDPs).
Refugees should be able to return home to safety once they have been granted asylum. Unfortunately, this may not always happen for many years. The goal is to allow refugees to integrate into the host country or, if necessary, to be resettled in another safe country.
Integration in a new country can be difficult and slow. The refugee must first have their basic needs met, such as shelter and food, then social and cultural integration will follow, for example, once they are accepted into the workforce in a country that is comparable to their qualifications and previous careers.
Even after fleeing their home country, refugees can still face many difficulties. Particularly refugee camps can be overcrowded and poorly equipped, with many diseases, conflict, and violence, and often have poor sanitary conditions. In society, refugees can face hostility, stigmatization, and xenophobia. They may also struggle to access education because of language barriers.
Despite these challenges, refugees can still make valuable contributions to their host countries, be it their skills and expertise, their support for their local communities, or their new culture.
This is a special occasion to celebrate refugees, recognize the hardships and challenges they face, and show admiration and gratitude.
It is a great way to commemorate this day by learning more about the refugee experience, and what it means for people living in displacement. Walking a mile with a refugee will make you feel more sympathetic for their situation.
Many books offer a unique insight into the life of a refugee, fiction or non-fiction.
Many events are organized to mark World Refugee Day by communities, governments, schools, and other organizations around the globe. Many of these events are run by people who have been displaced. You can check out the activities happening in your area. These include film screenings, conferences, and fundraising events. If you are able to host your own event, you might be able to raise awareness in your local community.
Donating to a non-profit organization that supports refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons is another great way to commemorate World Refugee Day. You can either support the UNHCR’s efforts or raise funds to help other charities like Action Aid, Red Cross and Help Refugees.
World Refugee Day offers a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives and experiences for refugees around the globe. Get involved and spread the word via social media to honor the amazing people who have been living under the most difficult of circumstances.
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