WORLD REFUGEE DAY 2020 – JUNE 20
World Refugee Day is celebrated every year on June 20 to raise awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. According to resolution 55/76, on 4 December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution decided that June 20 would be celebrated as World Refugee Day to honor all refugees, raise awareness and solicit support and to draw the public’s attention to the millions of refugees and Internally displaced persons worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict, and persecution. African Refugee Day had been celebrated formally in several countries before 2000. But the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June.
The World Refugee Day Celebrations includes a variety of events in more than 100 countries, involving government officials, humanitarian aid workers, celebrities, civilians and the forcibly displaced themselves. The UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Refugee Agency puts out messages on each World Refugee Day and also designates a theme for each World Refugee Day campaign. People in various groups attend the local World Refugee Day event, watching and sharing World Refugee Day videos, and raising awareness for refugees on social media.
WHO IS REFUGEE?
According to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster and because of his/her race, religion, nationality, or political opinion. They were forced to flee persecution for their political or religious beliefs, ethnicity, nationality, or membership of a particular social group. They were compelled to leave as a result of the war. Children, women, and men flee away from the consequences of climate change or other natural disasters. People face a combination of such difficult circumstances and situations.
Refugees cannot go back to their country of origin as refoulement is against international law. Refugees are unable to obtain passports from their countries. Therefore, they need to travel documents to engage in international travel. These travel documents are passport-like booklets. About 67% of today’s refugees have come from the countries: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, and Somalia. Refugees get rights including the right to freedom from torture or degrading treatment, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to life, liberty, and security and the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. Itang camp in Ethiopia hosted was the world’s largest refugee camp for some time during the 1990s and hosted 182,000 refugees from South Sudan. Refugee women face healthcare and physical abuse and instances of discrimination, sexual violence, and human trafficking. Women and girls in camps often fear being alone, especially at night, because of the risk of trafficking and sexual violence. Other consequences include ongoing risks of violence, lack of basic services, and uncertainty about the future.
According to the provisions of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, refugees deserve the same standards of treatment enjoyed by other foreign nationals in a given country and the same treatment as nationals. According to this convention, refugee should not be returned to a country where he or she faces serious threats to his or her life or freedom. This protection may not be claimed by refugees who are reasonably regarded as a danger to the security of the country, or having been convicted of a particularly serious crime, are considered a danger to the community. The rights included in the 1951 Convention include the right not to be expelled, except under certain, strictly defined conditions, the right not to be punished for illegal entry into the territory of a contracting State, the right to work, the right to housing, the right to education, the right to public relief and assistance, the right to freedom of religion, the right to access the courts, the right to freedom of movement within the territory and the right to be issued identity and travel documents.
According to a UNHCR report in 2017, India is host to 2,00,000 refugees that hail from a myriad of countries like Myanmar, Afghanistan, Somalia, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Palestine, and Burma, to name a few. However, in smaller states like the northeastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya, and Assam, a large influx of refugees will cause the natives to become minorities in their state.
WORLD REFUGEE DAY 2020
World Refugee Day is on June 20th and Multi-Agency Partnership planned online events to celebrate refugees, their amazing talents, their contribution to our communities.
MANSO and member agencies of newcomer service providers will come together on this day to honor the strength and courage of refugees. The Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations (MANSO) is an umbrella organization for immigrant and refugee service providers in the Province of Manitoba. The Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations provides leadership, support, and a unified voice for the settlement and integration sector, including core settlement services, language training, employment services, and welcoming community programs.
World Refugee Day will be commemorated on June 19th at 11:00 AM (CDT) to honor the strength, courage, and resilience of refugees. This virtual public awareness event will provide an opportunity for us to reflect on our shared global responsibility to respond to the devastating forced displacement crisis around the world. Although we are under the strain of a worldwide pandemic, let’s not forget the plight of those for whom this situation adds another level of problems and struggle.
The event in an honor of refugees includes our guest speaker, the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, Chair of the World Refugee Council (WRC). Lloyd is one of Canada’s leading voices on global migration and refugee protection. He also served as Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Employment and Immigration.
Events will also include a video about Manitoba refugees and special music. Members will be invited to register for the event and participate in the event via zoom. Also, members of the public are welcomed to participate in the event through Facebook live stream. Newly settled refugees share their personal stories of perseverance through the economic challenges created by the health pandemic. They will share how they have been economically affected by the pandemic and learn how you can be a change maker. With the theme “World Refugee Day Registration“, the celebration will recognize and honor the significant contribution of refugees to British Columbia and create a community despite the economic challenges created by the health pandemic. Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE) hosts various activities throughout the month for World Refugee Day. On each Friday in June, CARE will share episodes from its documentary series: ‘Journeys of Hope’, filmed in 2016. This series was shown as part of Alberta Culture Days. Every Wednesday at 1 p.m, CARE will also host a live-streamed discussion known as Culture Talks, on its Facebook page. Guests will be current or former refugees. Local refugees or former refugees will also get the chance to show through visual means what being a refugee and having come to Canada means to them.
FACTS ABOUT WORLD REFUGEE DAY
Facts you need to know for World Refugee Day include More than 21 million of these people are refugees and 10 million are stateless, On average, 42,500 people per day flee their homes to seek protection within the borders of their own country or other countries, The civil war in Syria has led to one of the worst humanitarian crises of our lifetime, 86% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries, The world’s largest refugee camp is located in Dadaab, Kenya, which is home to more than 329,000 people, Of the 20 million refugees worldwide, 51% are under the age of 18, The first-ever Refugee Team competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. On this day, if you do not have time to attend a physical event or volunteer, another way to show your commitment to the cause on World Refugee Day is to provide financial assistance to non-profit and grassroots organizations. Make them feel welcome in your community, show them around, help them practice your local language, teach them about your traditions, simply be a human to a fellow human. Many of the organizations working in the field organize activities that can range from a simple celebration to a multiple-day event full of activities, games, and panel discussions.
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