Why World Refugee Day is even more significant this year amid Ukraine war

Published on Jun 20, 2022 06:48 AM IST

Calling for active solutions for the problem by states, Grandi also said that the "forced displacement is outpacing solutions for those on the run"

Ukrainian refugees that were granted free accommodation by the hotel owner Krzystof Ciszewski, are pictured at their room in Bratkowice, Poland.(Reuters)
Ukrainian refugees that were granted free accommodation by the hotel owner Krzystof Ciszewski, are pictured at their room in Bratkowice, Poland.(Reuters)

Every year on June 20, countries across the world observe 'Refugee Day' to spread awareness and sensitivity towards millions of people who have been displaced due to war, persecution, political turmoil or violence. The day was first established on 20 June 2001, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

Each year the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) sets a theme for World Refugee Day to bring focus on different aspects of the crisis. This year, the UN agency has decided to use ‘Right to Seek Safety’ as the theme for the World Refugee Day observance. Through this, the UN agency is aiming to educate about the rights of refugees seeking safe space for themselves and their family.

This year, the day is taking extra significance as it comes amid the brutal war in Ukraine which pushed global displacement figures to record levels, according to the United Nations figures. According to the UN's global trends report, more than 5 million Ukrainian refugees have been recorded across Europe since Russia’s invasion.

So far, more than 100 million people have been forced to flee their homes -- more than 1 per cent of the total humanity -- due to various reasons including violence, disasters and war, among other reasons, the UN report also stated. At the end of 2021, 89.3 million people were displaced, the international body also noted.

"The war in Ukraine, as well as new or continuing emergencies in places such as Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have all contributed to this staggering figure," said UN's High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in his message on World Refugee Day.

Calling for active solutions for the problem by states, Grandi also said that the "forced displacement is outpacing solutions for those on the run"

"Leaders can work together to make peace and resolve the plight of those who have been displaced with lasting and humane solutions," he added.

"World Refugee Day is intended to be a celebration of the human spirit and of the fortitude of the millions of people who, despite being displaced and dispossessed, relentlessly strive to improve their lives and those of their families and communities," Grandi also said.

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