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World Refugee Day and global statistics 2007 - next week

Briefing notes

World Refugee Day and global statistics 2007 - next week

13 June 2008

Next Friday, 20 June is World Refugee Day and we would like to keep you informed about several events of media interest during the week. In London, on Tuesday 17 June, High Commissioner António Guterres will mark World Refugee Day events by opening UNHCR's 'Experience Darfur' refugee camp in Trafalgar Square. Also on Tuesday, we will be launching at 1030 CET UNHCR's global trends report for 2007 - the latest annual refugee statistics.

After London, the High Commissioner flies to Kenya on a three-day mission where he is scheduled to visit the congested Dadaab refugee camp which hosts more than 190,000 refugees, mainly from Somalia. He will also visit Kenyans in the Rift Valley who were internally displaced after post-election violence. Mr. Guterres would like to use World Refugee Day to draw attention to the Somalia situation and the impact 18 years of civil strife has had on its population - tens of thousands continue to be forcibly displaced internally, and many have fled to neighbouring countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen.

Over the last three months, violence in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, has pushed out another 50,000 civilians from their homes. This has brought the total number of civilians who have fled the devastated capital since February 2007 to a staggering 850,000. Over 1 million Somalis are now internally displaced in a country where humanitarian agencies, including UNHCR, have sharply declining access to people in need of assistance. In Kenya, this year alone, nearly 20,000 refugees have sought asylum in Dadaab refugee camp. Many are from Mogadishu and other parts of south/central Somalia. Last year, more than 30,000 Somali refugees sought asylum in Kenya.

On 19 June, the High Commissioner will travel briefly to Naivasha in the Rift Valley and meet with internally displaced Kenyans and returnees. On 20 June, he will participate in activities to mark World Refugee Day at the University of Nairobi grounds.