Today marks World Refugee Day, which aims to honor refugees across the two spheres.
The day aims to raise awareness of the crucial need to put end to the barriers faced by refugees who have been displaced from the places they belong, like their countries and homes, due to conflicts and racial discrimination incidents.
It also sheds the light on some critical issues, such as the Right to seek asylum, Safe access, and Humane treatment.
This year’s theme is “Whoever. Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to seek safety” and is focused on protecting people from racial discrimination, trafficking in people, and avoiding arbitrary detention.
According to a statement released by the UN to mark this occasion, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “On World Refugee Day, we reflect on the courage and resilience of those fleeing war, violence, and persecution and the UN agencies also recognize the compassion of those who welcome them. “Today, the global refugee population is at a record high.”
Also in this regard, he noted that the ongoing war in Ukraine has triggered the largest and fastest displacement in Europe since World War II.
“Together with the women, children, and men fleeing conflict elsewhere in the world, the total number of forcibly displaced people has reached 100 million – a grim indictment of our times,” Guterres pointed out.
The UN chief indicated that the International law is clear, saying: “The right to seek asylum is a fundamental human right. People escaping violence or persecution must be able to cross borders safely.”
In the same connection, he affirmed that this day is a fundamental tenet of our common humanity: everyone has the right to seek safety – whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whenever they are forced to flee.
“They must not face discrimination at borders or be unfairly denied refugee status or asylum due to their race, religion, gender, or country of origin. They cannot be forced to return if their lives or freedom would be at risk. And like every human being, they should be treated with respect.”
Affirming the crucial need to respect their rights, he called on the world to give them more opportunities
They have the right to heal, learn, work, and thrive as well as to return home if they so choose, or to rebuild their lives elsewhere, in safety and dignity.
Across the world, refugees have brought new life, prosperity, and rich cultural diversity to their host communities. Protecting refugees is a responsibility we all share.
“Today, let us pledge to do more for refugees everywhere – and for the countries that host them while themselves facing a cascade of challenges. Let us stand together in solidarity. Let us defend the integrity of the international protection regime. And let us never lose sight of our common humanity, he concluded his message.
In coincidence with the occasion of the International Day, UNHCR Egypt kicked off its first event on Sunday, in collaboration with UNFPA, WHO, TdH and Etijah, to to mark this day and celebrate refugee resilience and honor their talents.
The event took place at the Safe Space in the Sheikh Zayed Youth Center with the support of the Embassy of Switzerland, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and USAID.
The event included several activities targeting refugee communities such as live music performances, an art therapy workshop, a sports activity for youth and an interactive theater performance, UNHCR revealed.
“On World Refugee Day, we want you to know that seeking asylum is a human right and being a refugee means that you are protected by international law,” UNHCR said.
The day was observed globally for the first time on June 20, 2001, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees