On June 20th, people from all over the world will celebrate World Refugee Day. According to the United Nations, World Refugee Day is a day to commemorate “the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees.”
In 2001, the UN General Assembly, marking the 50th anniversary of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), adopted the following resolution:
This year’s theme for World Refugee Day is the Global Compact on Refugees. It calls for investment in communities that host refugees to help ease the pressure on the host and to help refugees become self-reliant.
In 2016 UNHCR proposed a new global compact on refugees, building on existing international law and standards, including the 1951 Refugee Convention and human rights treaties, and better defining international cooperation to share responsibilities.
Its four key objectives are to:
For decades, USCRI’s work with refugee communities in the U.S. has reflected the values of the Global Compact—self-sufficiency, community support and the inherent right of an individual’s dignity. USCRI’s mission is to protect the rights and address the needs of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide and support their transition to a dignified life.
Khaled Hosseini, author of New York Times bestseller The Kite Runner said, “Refugees are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, with the same hopes and ambitions as us—except that a twist of fate has bound their lives to a global refugee crisis on an unprecedented scale.
World Refugee Day has a simple yet powerful message: show your solidarity with those who have been forcibly displaced from their home countries.
On World Refugee Day, we urge people to look around—at your family, your neighbors and your community—and ask those who came as refugees why they made the decision to leave their home country. Listen to the stories they tell and try to understand the courage, determination and resilience it takes to uproot yourself and make your home elsewhere.
Author Richard Flanagan wrote in his book Notes on an Exodus, “Refugees are not like you and me. They are you and me. That terrible river of the wretched and damned flowing through Europe is my family. And there is no time in the future in which they might be helped. The only time we have is now.”
Everyone. Everywhere. Equal value. We are the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.