Sunday, June 20, 2010

June 20th is World Refugee Day

This Sunday will mark the 10th anniversary of World Refugee Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of refugees around the world. When it was started in 2001, it marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which mapped out the definition and rights of individuals who have been granted asylum. This World Refugee Day comes on the heels of the UNHCR announcement that they have referred 100,000 Iraqi refugees for resettlement from Middle East countries since 2007. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres called the achievement a "tremendous achievement" but also noted that some states continue to not welcome Iraqi refugees for resettlement.

The theme of this year's edition of World Refugee Day is "Home," in recognition of the more than 40 million people from around the world who have been forced to flee their former lives. If you want to get involved in World Refugee Day, visit the UNHCR site to organize an event in your area to benefit refugees. Anything you can do to help will greatly aid in rebuilding their lives.

-Matthew Thwaites

SOURCES: UNHCR Reaches Milestone in Resettlement of Iraqi refugees, Organize an Event in you Area