Saturday, 23 January 2021

UN in your language

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.


In Rome UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres presided over a an event with Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano and six refugees, including a Polish survivor of the Holocaust in World War II.

As UNHCR celebrated the World Refugee Day , during the agency's 60th anniversary year, Mr. Guterres appealed to industrialized countries to do more to help developing nations in dealing with huge refugee populations.

"We need a new deal in burden and responsibility sharing – much stronger support from countries in the north to countries in the south to help all those who crossed borders . . . The truth is, if there is a burden or responsibility it is essentially assumed by countries in the developing world," he said while presenting UNHCR's 2010 Global Trends report in Rome.  (See:

The annual report shows that the number of forcibly displaced people in the world is nearly 44 million – a 15-year high. It also reveals a deep imbalance in international support for the forcibly displaced, with 80 per cent of the world's refugees being hosted by developing countries.



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.