UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, UNFPA, the UN Population Fund, and WHO, the World Health Organization commemorated World Refugee Day on June 19, 2022 with a joint community event under the theme “Whoever. Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to seek safety,” in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Etijah Youth and Development Consultancy Institute and Terre des hommes.
The event was held 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 focused on upcycling tools, awareness sessions on gender-based violence and mental health for women and girls, a Wendo self-defense workshop, a sports activity for youth and an interactive theater performance.
Elena Panova, the UN Resident Coordinator, Pablo Mateu, UNHCR Representative in Egypt, Frederika Meijer, UNFPA Representative in Egypt, Dr Naeema Al-Gasseer, WHO Representative in Egypt, General Ismail El-Far, Executive Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and Manal Gamal, General Manager of the ministry’s Youth Projects at the Central Administration of Youth Projects and Training, participated in the event.
The theme for World Refugee Day 2022 underlines that every person in the world has a right to seek safety – whoever they are, wherever they come from and whenever they are forced to flee. Seeking asylum is a human right. Anyone fleeing persecution, conflict, or human rights abuses has a right to seek protection in another country. People forced to flee should be treated with respect and dignity. Among other things, this means keeping families together, protecting people from traffickers, and avoiding arbitrary detention.
Ten Safe Spaces in six governorates are operated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports with Etijah, supported by UNFPA. They are designed for women and girls from refugee, migrant and host community members, where they can access gender-based violence response services – including case management, psychosocial, emergency housing, legal, and medical – as well as reproductive health services, and can also socialize and re-build their social networks, receive social support, and acquire different skills.
Safe spaces also offer skill-building programs that include handcrafts, language courses and business skills to support their livelihood and open income generation opportunities. UNFPA and UNHCR jointly carry-out emergency cash assistance programmes to support the most vulnerable refugees exposed to violence.