International Refugee Day is celebrated every year on June 20 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The aim of the day is to raise awareness of the plight of millions of refugees around the world, who have been forced to flee their homes to safer countries.
The Refugee Convention states that a refugee is someone who has a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or belonging to a particular social group (a certain social group is a somewhat vague category but in most countries of the world women are included).
Some facts about the situation of the right refugees today (from the Amnesty International website)
There are 25.9 million refugees in the world - the highest number ever recorded.
Half of the refugees in the world are children.
A third of the refugees - 6.7 million people - have found refuge in the world's poorest countries.
About 1.4 million refugees are at particular risk of violence and are particularly vulnerable and urgently need resettlement on a regular basis. But of those, only 92,400 refugees were resettled in 2018, less than 7% in need.
In 2018 there were 1.1 million new refugees, most of whom fled the conflict in Syria, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Violence, insecurity, persecution and shortages of food, medicine and other necessities, have motivated millions of Venezuelans to leave their country. In the first five months of 2019, some 4 million Venezuelans left their homes in one of the biggest crises in the world. More than 460,000 Venezuelans have sought refuge but so far only a small proportion - some 21,000 - have been recognized as refugees.
Many rich countries continue to establish policies that will deter people seeking asylum in them. At the same time, they transfer the responsibility to neighboring countries that will protect the people fleeing for their lives. This limited and short-sighted policy forces women, men and children to embark on dangerous journeys on foot and by sea and endanger their lives and be exposed to human rights violations.
The 10 countries that received the most refugees are: Turkey (3.7 million), Iran (979,000 refugees), Pakistan (1.4 million refugees), Bangladesh (906,000 refugees), Ethiopia (921,000 refugees), Uganda (1.1 million refugees), Jordan (2.9 million) Refugees), Sudan (908,700 refugees), Lebanon (1.4 million refugees) and Germany (1 million refugees).
The richest countries in the world are not doing nearly enough to fund the cost of protecting the people who have left everything behind. Referrals for humanitarian aid to refugees are consistently - and often - unfunded.
In conclusion, the world urgently needs a new global program based on genuine international cooperation and meaningful and fair sharing of responsibility.
June 20 is also Vanilla Milkshake Day
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