Live blog 2022: World Refugee Day events held as displacement tops 100 million
Welcome to the World Refugee Day 2022 Live Blog, where we'll be bringing you stories and events from around the world celebrating refugees and the countries and communities that have taken them in.
Every World Refugee Day, 20 June, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, joins millions of others around the world in honoring those who have fled conflict, violence and persecution in search of safety. With the number of forcibly displaced people around the world now standing at more than 100 million, the theme of this year's event – the right to seek safety – is more critical than ever.
Today and every day, we believe that everyone has the right to seek safety – whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whenever they are forced to flee.
By keeping our doors and hearts open to refugees, we can offer them a chance to use their energy and talents in meaningful ways that ultimately benefit us all.
Check back here throughout the day for updates.
Last entry of UNHCR's 2022 World Refugee Day Live Blog – New York City
Everyone has the right to safety. Whoever they are, wherever they come from and whenever they are forced to flee. The numbers are daunting – 100 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, war and persecution. We all must do more. And countries must end the conflict, persecution and human rights abuses that give people no choice but to run.
This year, like every year, we have been awed by the celebrations around the world. Watching refugees and the communities who have welcomed them sing, dance, cook, paint, run and play together reminds us there is hope.
Finally, a special thank you to the designer of this year's World Refugee Day Twitter emoji, Iryna Morykvas, who fled Ukraine with her 10-year-old son. We leave you with her words, to remind us all to keep our doors and hearts open:
"In everyday life, we can rely on ourselves a lot, we can plan, make an effort. With the beginning of the war, everything changes – the feeling of security disappears, there is uncertainty, fear, helplessness. Then even the slightest help is invaluable. When someone gives warm tea, a blanket, food, a toy to a child or even just says something encouraging and smiles."
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Cities like Albuquerque show that welcoming refugees is not only the right thing to do – it also builds strong, vibrant communities.
UNHCR Nordic and Baltic colleagues organized a pass the mic night so refugees could share their stories.
In Saudi Arabia, expressing solidarity with those forced to flee – billboards in Riyadh and Jeddah, and the Kingdom Tower lit up in UN blue.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
To celebrate WRD, children of Haitian refugees gather to paint murals at an event organized by UNHCR and its partner, Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral.
A special song just for WRD!
More than 40 landmarks across Japan were lit up in blue on 20 June in solidarity with refugees across the world, including the historical Clock Tower in Sapporo, the capital of northernmost prefecture Hokkaido. Built in 1878, today the clocktower serves as a museum and cultural centre for the city.
Bella Vista, Belize
In Bella Visa, Belize, UNHCR and its partner, HUMANA People to People, led a 5-kilometre run to highlight the contributions of refugees. Locals and asylum seekers, many of them children, participated in the run which was followed by a ceremony and a fair.
In Kalobeyei refugee settlement in northern Kenya, refugee and host communities celebrated World Refugee Day together. The different communities showed off their traditional dances. The ceremony afterwards was attended by UNHCR and government officials, and Goodwill Ambassador and refugee athlete Pur Biel.
Each year, UNHCR and Children's Books Ireland invite children to experience life as someone forced to flee. Check out the selections in the window of Hodges Figgis, Ireland's oldest bookstore!
The historic National Theatre in Algiers threw open its doors to 700 refugees and locals for a night of music and entertainment, including a free concert featuring musician and television personality Manal Gherbi, singer-songwriter Djam, and guests Dima Stand. Outside the venue, the organizers had errected a tradtional Sahrawi refugee tent in recognition of the 90,000 Sahrawi refugees living in the country.
To the Peruvian capital, where UNHCR organised the first "Great inclusive run" and encouraged everyone to take part however they wished - walking, running, cycling, in wheelchairs or even on skates. During the race, participants were driven on by the precussive sounds of a local samba-inspired Batucada group, and after there was a concert featuring popular Venezuelan band Los Bacanos.
Actor, director and long-time UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Ben Stiller is visiting Ukraine and Poland to meet refugees and others forced to flee their homes by the war in Ukraine. In a statement to mark World Refugee Day, Stiller said: "Protecting people forced to flee is a collective global responsibility. We have to remember this could happen to anyone, anywhere."
In what has become an annual tradition in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, refugees, members of the public and staff from UN agencies, governments and NGOs took part in a solidarity walk through the picturesque Tbilisi Botanical Gardens to show their support for forcibly displaced people everywhere.
Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan
Home to more than 80,000 Syrian refugees – over half of them children – Jordan's Zaatari camp is the largest refugee camp in the Middle East. As part of their World Refugee Day celebrations, 30 children aged between 6 and 10 took part in a Little Chef Competition organised by UNHCR and its partner Blumont. The young bakers made Syrian bread before judging which was the tastiest.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi is spending World Refugee Day in Côte d’Ivoire, where he accompanied a group of Ivorian refugees returning home from Liberia. Together, they boarded a barge to cross the Cestos River which divides the two countries and Grandi disembarked holding the hand of one of the youngest passengers. Last year, he recommended that asylum countries end refugee status for Ivorians following the peaceful resolution of two decades of civil conflict and instability in Côte d’Ivoire.
Riders of all ages took to the streets in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires and the western city of Mendoza for a bike ride to celebrate World Refugee Day. After cycling their way past major landmarks in both cities in glorious winter sunshine, particpants were treated to dancing and other cultural activites by refugees before sharing lunch.
As part of World Refugee Day celebrations in the Philippines, a food festival was held at a marketplace in Makati near the capital Manilla featuring an array of food stalls, many of them run by refugees. During a “food challenge” participants had to identify and buy food from vendors specializing in cuisines from countries where past or present refugee crises are taking place.
Canadian soccer star and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Alphonso Davies has shared a personal message for World Refugee Day. “Anyone can become a refugee … they deserve our support,” says the FC Bayern Munich player, who himself was resettled from a refugee camp in Ghana to Canada at the age of 5.
Iryna Morykvas, a Ukrainian artist and children’s book illustrator, fled the war in Ukraine with her 10-year-old son to seek safety in Poland and later in the Netherlands.
Iryna created a unique emoji – a heart with an open door – for WRD to symbolize the love and solidarity she encountered along her journey to safety. Through a partnership between Twitter and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the emoji will be available on Twitter from June 19 to 25, with the hashtag #withrefugees, to honour the 100 million people forced to flee war and persecution. Read more about her, and see more of her beautiful artwork, here.
Peru stands #WithRefugees! Blue lights up the sky at the Tacna Parabolic Arch.
Geneva, Switzerland/New York, USA
The right to seek asylum is not up for negotiation. Watch UNHCR's moving World Refugee Day video to hear from refugees first-hand what it's like to be forced to leave everything behind in search of safety.
Poland is hosting more than 1.1 million refugees from Ukraine, and among them is Vic, a student from Nigeria who was studying in Ukraine when the conflict began. Now living in Warsaw, Vic led a dance session for people of all ages as part of a World Refugee Day event organised by UNHCR and local NGO Strefa WolnoSlowa.
Juba, South Sudan
Refugees and UNHCR staff celebrated World Refugee Day in South Sudan with a football match at the training ground of national soccer team “The Bright Stars”. A UNHCR team featuring UN staff and displaced players from Sudan and Ethiopia faced off against a refugee team from Rwanda, Sudan and Burundi. With the teams tied at one all after normal time, the match was decided on penalties with the UNHCR team claiming victory after the winning goal was scored by a refugee midfeilder from Sudan. Here's the team claiming the silverware...