World Refugee Day – June 20th
World Refugee Day is celebrated on 20th June every year, to honor refugees and raise awareness of the plight of refugees around the globe. It’s an occasion for us to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.
World Refugee Day theme 2021 is “Together we heal, learn and shine.”
This weekend celebrates the courage and resilience of people who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, persecution, and violence. Understanding the reasons people are forced from their homes, the difficulties refugees face as a result of their migration, and standing together to support million people who are forcibly displaced worldwide.
Organized by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in 2000, World Refugee Day is an international day of observance held annually on June 20 to promote global awareness and responsibility for refugees around the world. Although the observation of World Refugee Day began in 2001, the tradition of raising awareness of the refugee cause through commemoration far precedes the twenty-first century, as highlighted on this 1980s poster from African Refugee Day, the precursor to World Refugee Day.
One of the earliest of these recognitions came in 1914 when Pope Pius X instituted World Day for Migrants and Refugees. Since then, the observance of the refugee cause has entered the political arena at the national and regional levels.
African Refugee Day was held each year on 20 June to honor the resilience of those who had been forcibly displaced in Africa. In December 2000, owing to the increasing success of African Refugee Day throughout the twentieth century and the approaching 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 55/76. This resolution established, with the agreement of the OAU, an international refugee day coinciding with African Refugee Day beginning in 2001.
World Refugee Day celebrates the dignity of those who have been forced to leave their homes. It also pays tribute to the efforts of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to promote and provide assistance to refugees, and highlights the dedication of UN humanitarian workers in the field aiding refugees, stateless people, and internally displaced persons.
The evolution from African Refugee Day to World Refugee Day shows strengthened international solidarity for the refugee cause, for it reinforces international recognition that no one chooses to be a refugee.
How is World Refugee Day Celebrated
Many cities around the world put on special volunteer events for people experiencing the hardships of leaving war-torn and politically unstable nations. World Refugee day is a wonderful opportunity for local organizations, small groups, and others to demonstrate their common concern for the welfare and protection of the world’s forcibly displaced people.
We can help bring awareness, we can connect and get to know a refugee, and we can help people understand the realities of refugees. Commemorate this day by pledging, sharing, and learning.
The coronavirus pandemic is a time of introspection for many. People followed the latest developments closely, watching infection curves and discussing compulsory masks and social distancing. Enormous aid packages were put together to jumpstart industrialized economies, showing just what effective policymaking can produce. Why not do the same for refugees, who have incidentally been especially hard hit by the pandemic?
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, refugees and displaced people have stepped up and continue to contribute to a stronger, safer, and more vibrant world.
World Refugee Day Quotes to share
“Refugees are not terrorists. They are often the first victims of terrorism.” – António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres
“Displaced societies are of value. Their issues are our issues.” – Cynthia Basinet
To be called a refugee is the opposite of an insult; it is a badge of strength, courage, and victory. – Tennessee Office for Refugees
A refugee is someone who survived and who can create the future. – Amela Koluder
Refugees are not terrorists. They are often the first victims of terrorism. – António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres
No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark. – Warsan Shire
“Refugees are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, with the same hopes and ambitions as us—except that a twist of fate has bound their lives to a global refugee crisis on an unprecedented scale.” – Khaled Hosseini
No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land. – Warsan Shire
A lasting solution, the possibility to begin a new life, is the only dignified solution for the refugee himself. – Poul Hartling
“It is the obligation of every person born in a safer room to open the door when someone in danger knocks” – Dina Nayeri
“Refugees didn’t just escape a place. They had to escape a thousand memories until they’d put enough time and distance between them and their misery to wake to a better day” – Nadia Hashimi