Monday, 18 January 2021

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World Refugee Day

Landmarks illuminated to celebrate Refugee Day

From Sydney to San Francisco, UNHCR and its partners, including governments, donors, non-governmental organizations, goodwill ambassadors and refugees themselves, took part in awareness-raising, cultural, educational, environmental and sport activities to celebrate World Refugee Day 20 June.

In keeping with past tradition, landmarks around the world were illuminated in UN blue, including, for the second year in a row, the iconic Empire State Building in New York as well as the Colosseum in Rome, the Tokyo Tower and the world's largest civil administration building, in Romania.


Angelina Jolie visits refugees from Syria and Libya

Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie and UNHCR chief António Guterres met boat people, including unaccompanied minors, on a tiny Italian island on Sunday (June 19) and remembered those who have lost their lives trying to reach Lampedusa by sea from Africa.

Jolie and Guterres visited the Porta d'Europa – a stone gateway on a headland next to the sea where hundreds of boats have arrived with migrants from North Africa, including refugees and asylum-seekers. More than 40,000 people have risked the Mediterranean crossing on overcrowded boats and reached Lampedusa so far this year. A further 1,500 have died in the attempt.


New report: Developing countries host 80% of refugees

A UNHCR report released today June 20, World Refugee Day, reveals deep imbalance in international support for the world's forcibly displaced, with a full four-fifths of the world's refugees being hosted by developing countries – and at a time of rising anti-refugee sentiment in many industrialized ones.

“The burden of helping the world’s forcibly displaced people is starkly uneven.,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message on World Refugee Day. “Poor countries host vastly more displaced people than wealthier ones.  While anti-refugee sentiment is heard loudest in industralized countries, developing nations host 80 per cent of the world’s refugees.  This situation demands an equitable solution.”


Rome focus of World Refugee Day

The UN refugee agency, in its 60th year,marks World Refugee Day with a rich and varied programme of events in locations worldwide and the launch of a new global awareness campaign (see separate story).

The Italian capital of Rome will be the focus of this year's events on World Refugee Day itself (June 20), with High Commissioner António Guterres due to present UNHCR's annual statistics report on the number of people of concern to the agency.


Jolie kicks of campaign

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie TV spot kicks off a new six month long awareness campaign on the occasion of World Refugee Day. The so-called “1” campaign will feature a number of media products including this Public Service Announcement video by UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie asking the public to do 1 thing to help refugees


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Refugees in numbers:

    • Around the world today there are 43.3 million forcibly displaced people. Of these, 27.1 million are internally displaced (IDP) and 15.6 million are refugees.
    • Afghanistan is the leading country of origin for refugees. 2.9 million Afghans live in 71 countries as refugees. Most of them live in Pakistan or Iran.
    • Four out of five refugees are settled in developing countries. 16 % of the refugees are settled in Europe.
    • Pakistan has takes in the highest number of refugees in the world: 1.7 million.
    • Colombia is the county in the word with the most internally displaced people: 3.3 million people.
    • African countries account for 40 % of all IDPs. Conflicts in the Democratic republic of Congo, Sudan and Somalia are crucial factors.


    • Refugee: According to the Geneva Refugee Convention of 1951 a refugee is a person who has fled from his or her country because of “well-founded fear of being persecuted”, often for reasons of race, religion, nationality or political opinion.
    • Asylum seeker: An asylum seeker is someone who says he or she is a refugee, but whose claim has not been evaluated by the authorities in the country where the person seeks asylum.
    • Migrant: Migrants choose to move for example to improve their future economic prospects. Since they are not forced to move to save their rights or protect their freedom, international law treats them differently.
    • IDP (Internally Displaced People): IDPs have not crossed international boarders, but have moved to find sanctuary within their own country. Even though they flee for similar reasons as refugees, such as armed conflict and human rights violations, they legally remain under the protection of their own government.