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High Commissioner's World Refugee Day message

Briefing notes

High Commissioner's World Refugee Day message

15 June 2004

Sunday, June 20, is World Refugee Day. UNHCR and our partners around the globe will be marking it with a variety of events over the next several days. The High Commissioner will be in Barcelona this weekend for a series of World Refugee Day activities, and will be joined there by Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie.

This year's theme is "A Place to Call Home," reflecting the continuing efforts of UNHCR and its partners to find lasting solutions for millions of refugees and displaced people worldwide. As the High Commissioner notes in his message, to lose one's home can mean to lose one's very identity. That's why helping refugees to go home, or to find a new home elsewhere, is so important. As the High Commissioner notes, despite perceptions in some rich countries that they are being overwhelmed by refugees, the vast majority of the 50 million people UNHCR has helped over the past five decades have gone back to their own, often devastated, homelands. Last year alone, a total of 1.1 million refugees went home, 646,000 of them to Afghanistan. Refugees desperately want a place to call home.