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World Refugee Day 2004: Benin

World Refugee Day 2004: Benin

20 June 2004

UNHCR staff register refugees at the Douma registration center on the outskirts of Damascus. Registering with UNHCR ensures that the most vulnerable refugees receive aid.

On 17 June, Caritas organised an awareness session on health for urban refugees in Cotonou, based on the theme, "Keeping you in good health gives you the chance to go home". Mosquito nets, sanitary towels and soaps were distributed to refugee women to ensure better hygiene. UNHCR also gave out domestic items such as buckets, saucepans, plastic cups and plates.

On 19 June, in Kpomassè, a basketball tournament for about 50 refugee children preceded a performance on HIV/AIDS by a group of comedians. Folk dances and a dance competition closed the event. The UNHCR Representative gave an interview on national TV, which was followed by a message to the nation from the Minister of Interior, who reminded the authorities to honour their obligations to the refugees.

On 20 June, in Porto-Novo, a cross-country race was organised by the NGO, Technologie et Développement, Centre des Ressources, bringing together refugees and locals.

Kpomassè also celebrated through activities like folk dances, a skit called "Refugees and War", as well as girls' football matches.

The High Commissioner's message on World Refugee Day was broadcast on national TV and was preceded by a documentary on the world's refugee situation.

A reception took place on 21 June with government officials, the diplomatic corps, civil society, UNHCR's partners and refugees. The government authorities reaffirmed their commitment to be a generous host country for refugees.