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  In every sixty seconds, 20 people around the globe abandon whatever they are doing to escape war, persecution, or terror. Presently, the world is experiencing the highest level of displacement on record. In 2018, an unprecedented 70.8 million people around the world were forced to flee their homes due to conflict and persecution. Among the 70.8 million, about 30 million are refugees, with over half of them under the age of 18. Around the world, there are millions of people who are stateless people who have been denied access to nationality and basic rights such as healthcare, education, employment, and freedom of movement.
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In a bid to defend the rights of these people and create an inclusive world for refugees, the United Nations General Assembly on December 4th, 2000, in a Resolution 55/76 proclaimed June 20th of every year as World Refugee Day. As part of the resolution, the UN General Assembly also noted that 2001 marked 50 years since the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Prior to the UN Resolution of 2000, African Refugee Day had been celebrated in numerous countries but the UN reached an agreement with the African Union for the Africa Refugee Day to coincide with the celebration of the International Refugee Day on June 20. To celebrate the World Refugee Day, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNRA) and numerous civic groups all over the world, with a set-out theme, host events in order to draw the attention of the public to the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the world who had no choice but to flee their home or country due to war, conflict, or persecution. Over 100 countries around the globe take part in organizing events to mark the annual commemoration inclusive of government officials, civilians, humanitarian aid workers, celebrities, and even forcibly displaced persons.
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World Refugee Day 2020: Every Action Counts The theme for this year’s celebration “Every Action Counts,” ’is a reflection of what the globe is going through in form of the recent spate of anti-racism protests, a pointer to the fact that we need to strive for a more inclusive and equal world where no one is left behind in the scheme of things. This year’s celebration is slightly different from what the globe is used to owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has opened our eyes to the individual roles we all have to play in bringing about change. Yes, everyone is capable of making a difference, something at the heart of the UNHCR’s campaign for World Refugee Day.
Reminding the world that everyone, including refugees, can make meaningful contributions to society and Every Action Counts, forms the key focus for this year’s celebration as the UN aims to create a just, inclusive, and equal world. Also, this year’s commemoration greatly emphasises the need to recognize the efforts made by refugees, their host countries, and aid workers who are on the frontlines supporting refugees in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Sources: UN UNHCR Wikipedia Featured Image Source: Ronbarna Creative Video
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This article was first published on 20th June 2020


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