What is World Refugee Day?
World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on June 20 and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.
World Refugee Day 2022
Whoever they are, people forced to flee should be treated with dignity. Anyone can seek protection, regardless of who they are or what they believe. It is non-negotiable: seeking safety is a human right.
Wherever they come from, people forced to flee should be welcomed. Refugees come from all over the globe. To get out of harm’s way, they might take a plane, a boat, or travel on foot. What remains universal is the right to seek safety.
Whenever people are forced to flee, they have a right to be protected. Whatever the threat – war, violence, persecution – everyone deserves protection. Everyone has a right to be safe.
What does seeking safety mean?
1. Right to seek asylum
Anyone fleeing persecution, conflict, or human rights abuses has a right to seek protection in another country.
2. Safe access
Borders should remain open to all people forced to flee. Restricting access and closing borders can make the journey even more dangerous for people seeking safety.
3. No pushbacks
People can’t be forced to return to a country if their life or freedom would be at risk. This means that countries shouldn’t push anyone back without first evaluating the dangers they would face back home.
4. No discrimination
People should not be discriminated against at borders. All applications for refugee status must be given fair consideration, regardless of factors like race, religion, gender and country of origin.
5. Humane treatment
People forced to flee should be treated with respect and dignity. They are entitled to safe and dignified treatment like any human being. Among other things, this means keeping families together, protecting people from traffickers, and avoiding arbitrary detention.
You can find and download our World Refugee Day core messaging document here.
Why is World Refugee Day important?
World Refugee Day shines a light on the rights, needs and dreams of refugees, helping to mobilize political will and resources so refugees can not only survive but also thrive. While it is important to protect and improve the lives of refugees every single day, international days like World Refugee Day help to focus global attention on the plight of those fleeing conflict or persecution. Many activities held on World Refugee Day create opportunities to support refugees.
When is World Refugee Day? When did World Refugee Day start?
World Refugee Day falls each year on June 20 and is dedicated to refugees around the globe. World Refugee Day was held globally for the first time on June 20, 2001, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. It was originally known as Africa Refugee Day, before the United Nations General Assembly officially designated it as an international day in December 2000.
What happens on World Refugee Day?
Each year, World Refugee Day is marked by a variety of events in many countries around the globe in support of refugees. These activities are led by or involve refugees themselves, government officials, host communities, companies, celebrities, school children and the general public, among others. Read our World Refugee Day Live Blog to discover some of the activities that took place in 2021.