“I urge you to celebrate the extraordinary courage and contributions of refugees past and present.” ~ Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General
June 20th is World Refugee Day, and we thought it would be helpful to provide you with some fast facts about the global refugee crisis. "Refugees are people fleeing conflict or persecution. They are defined and protected in international law, and must not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom are at risk. At UNHCR, we have been assisting them for over half a century"(UNHCR).
According to the UN Refugee Agency, there 65.3 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide. That is approximately 34,000 people who are forcibly displaced every day as a result of conflict or persecution. Worldwide, there are 21.3 million refugees (16.1 million under UNHCR mandate and 5.2 million Palestinian refugees registered by UNRWA). Over half of the world's refugees are under the age of 18. If these numbers are difficult to imagine, the UN Refugee Agency has put together an infographic to help visualize these vast numbers of displaced people. Check it out HERE.
The refugee crisis is not something that we can ignore. As global citizens, we need to stick together and help our fellow neighbours, even if their homes are on the other side of the globe. Back in October of 2015, KWIC partnered with SAID and WUSC to hold a panel discussion entitled: "Syria: Looking Back. Moving Forward". Its aim was to explore the context of the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Canada's responsibility - and what we can do. The Syrian Refugee crisis has been a hot topic in Canada, especially when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that we would be bring in 25000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015. When people are fleeing terror and conflict, it is important that we step up and lend a helping hand. We cannot tolerate hatred and fear. We need to stand with Refugees, and bring them hope.
In a world where violence forces hundreds of families to flee each day, the UN Refugee Agency believes now is the time to show world leaders that the global public stands with refugees, and it will launch its #WithRefugees petition on June 20th to send a message to governments that they must work together and do their fair share for refugees.
The #WithRefugees petition will be delivered to UN headquarters in New York ahead of the UN High Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants, scheduled for the 19th September. The petition asks governments to:
- Ensure every refugee child gets an education.
- Ensure every refugee family has somewhere safe to live.
- Ensure every refugee can work or learn new skills to make a positive contribution
to their community.
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