What is World Refugee Day?
World Refugee Day is an international holiday designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It is observed on June 20 each year and honours the strength and bravery of those who have been forced to depart their own country due to violence or persecution. World Refugee Day is an opportunity to foster empathy and compassion for refugees’ predicament, as well as to honour their resilience in reconstructing their lives.
The History of World Refugee Day
On June 20, 2001, World Refugee Day was commemorated for the first time around the world, marking the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees. Before the United Nations General Assembly officially declared it as an international day in December 2000, it was known as Africa Refugee Day.
Every minute, 20 people abandon their possessions to flee conflict, persecution, or fear. There are numerous categories of people who have been forcibly relocated.:
According to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who has fled their home and country because of “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a specific social group, or political opinion.” Many refugees have gone into exile to escape natural or man-made disasters.
2. Asylum Seekers
Asylum seekers claim to be refugees who have fled their homes, but their claim for refugee status has yet to be determined in the country to which they have fled.
3. Internally Displaced Persons
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are people who have moved to a different region within their own country but have not crossed an international boundary.
4. Stateless Persons
People who are stateless lack a recognized nationality and are not citizens of any country.
Discrimination against certain groups is often the cause of statelessness. They may be denied access to critical government services like health care, education, or employment due to a lack of identification — a citizenship certificate.
Former refugees who return to their home nations or areas after a period of exile are known as returnees. Returnees require ongoing help and reintegration support in order to restore their lives at home.
The Theme of World Refugee Day 2022
The theme for World Refugee Day 2022 is “Whoever, Whatever, Whenever.” Everyone has a right to seek safety’. This theme focuses on the right to seek safety, which means that every refugee, regardless of their birthplace, colour, origin, or religion, must be accepted and treated with dignity.
Whoever they are, people forced to flee should be treated with respect. Anyone, regardless of who they are or what they think, can seek protection. It is inevitable: seeking safety is a fundamental human right.
Wherever they come from, people compelled to flee should be welcomed. Refugees arrive from all corners of the world. They may take a plane, a boat, or walk to get away from the danger. The right to seek safety is a universal right.
People have a right to be protected whenever they are forced to flee. Regardless of the threat posed — war, violence, or persecution – everyone deserves to be safe. Everyone has the right to a safe environment.
The Significance of World Refugee Day
- World Refugee Day raises awareness of refugees’ rights, needs, and aspirations, assisting in the mobilization of political will and resources so that refugees can not only survive, but thrive.
- While it is critical to safeguard and enhance the lives of refugees on a daily basis, international days such as World Refugee Day help to draw attention to the situation of individuals escaping conflict or persecution around the world. Many activities held on World Refugee Day provide people the chance to help refugees.
- World Refugee Day provides an opportunity for everyone to learn about, appreciate, and celebrate the great diversity of refugee communities around the world.
World Refugee Day 2022 is significant in current times because the biggest example of the refugee crisis this year came from Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia on February 24, 2022. Thousands of Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries to avoid Russian soldiers’ attacks as a result of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
On World Refugee Day 2022, the United Nations calls on world leaders to take steps to alleviate the plight of refugees who are forced to flee their homes and jobs in order to start over in a new location.
What happens on World Refugee Day?
Every year, World Refugee Day is commemorated with a variety of events in support of refugees in many nations throughout the world. These events are led by or involve refugees, government officials, host communities, businesses, celebrities, schoolchildren, and the general public.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has launched the #WithRefugees petition to send a message of action, solidarity, and accountability to governments around the world on behalf of refugees.
We can work together to end the refugee crisis and find homes for displaced people all across the world. Refugees are not terrorists but are often the first victims of terrorism. Happy World Refugee Day 2022!