World Refugee Day is a worldwide day where people honor and celebrate the strength and courage of refugees worldwide. World Refugee Day started in 2001 and takes place today [June 20] of every year. The United Nations declared this day one of observance to bring attention to the 14 million refugees around the world at that time.
With the constant rise of conflict in the world, it is no guess that humanity is suffering. At the end of 2015, there were 16.1 million refugees and 65.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. Many organizations get involved in activities that are held on this day, such as protesting against using former prisons to detain “migrants” and “asylum seekers” and visiting asylum seekers in detention to offer moral support. Some filmmakers have screenings of films about asylum seekers in the western cultures. Some communities acknowledge Refugee Day for an entire week educating and informing on the struggles and what can be done to help one another.
The large percentage of increase in refugees is mainly due to the conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan. According to NBC News, 54 percent of all refugees worldwide come from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. Between 2013 and 2015, 2.4 million refugees were registered to the refugee list and a whopping 12.4 million were displaced due to conflict or persecution.
Germany and the United States received the most refugee applications with Germany receiving 441,900 applications and America receiving 172,700. According to USA Today, “President Obama addressed the report released by the United Nations and said that a response from the world is needed ‘beyond question.'”
Of the 65.3 million people forced from their homes, more than half are children. President Obama urges both civilians and countries to get out and help in any way that they can. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau tweeted a video saying, “Let us use this day to strengthen our resolve and bolster our efforts, and let’s continue to show the world that Canada is truly the compassionate, generous country that we know it to be.” The tweet itself read,
President Obama is assembling a “Leaders’ Summit on Refugees” at the United Nations General Assembly in September. USA Today writes that the Leaders’ Summit, “is urging other governments to send more funding to humanitarian aid operations that are assisting in the resettlement, work and education opportunities for refugees.”
Many places hold events in order to honor and acknowledge World Refugee Day such as in Rochester, NY. Rochester holds international festivities that allows everyone to celebrate through parades and ceremonies that has different cultures of music and dance. The events help to spread awareness to those fortunate enough to not have to experience these struggles and acknowledge the problems refugees have to face during their period of terror.