Live Blog: World Refugee Day events span the globe as displacement hits record

From Asia to the Americas, UNHCR is leading celebrations of the spirit and courage of women, men and children uprooted from their homes.

Rohingya refugee Kaisara, 11, takes part in a painting class in Bangladesh ahead of World Refugee Day.
© UNHCR/Patrick Brown

From breakdancing to concerts, football to food festivals, millions of people around the world are taking part in events marking World Refugee Day, celebrating the strength and resilience of people forced to flee their homes and seek safety elsewhere.

The event, which falls each year on June 20, gives the public worldwide an opportunity to show their support for women, men and children displaced by conflict, violence and persecution in record numbers in 2017.

Many are also showing they stand #WithRefugees by signing UNHCR’s petition. Check back here throughout the day for updates.


Washington, USA

Representatives from USA for UNHCR took part in the pre-game programme and ceremony before the Washington Nationals baseball game at Nationals Park.


Toronto, Canada

Toronto's landmark CN Tower and its 3-D city name sign in Nathan Phillips Square were illuminated in blue in honour of World Refugee Day.


Cúcuta, Colombia

A mural outside the Colombian city of Cúcuta greets Venezuelans fleeing across the border.


Lima, Peru


Niamey, Niger

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi talks about current world climate for refugees on World Refugee Day.

How can we counter xenophobic narratives to help refugees?


Marawi City, Philippines

A distribution of relief items supplied by the UNIQLO clothing chain on June 20 to commemorate World Refugee Day in Marawi City, in the Philippines.

The Philippines. UNIQLO distribution of core relief items on World Refugee Day

A distribution of core relief items from UNIQLO on June 20 to commemorate World Refugee Day in Marawi City, in the Philippines.  © UNHCR


Anyake settlement, Nigeria


Presevo, Serbia

UNHCR staff, refugees and the local community have been busy planting trees at two schools in Presevo, Serbia, to show their support.


Nouakchott, Mauritania

Women from Central Africa perform a play about the issues they face as refugees in Mauritania, a country that is host to more than 2,000 urban refugees and asylum-seekers – mostly from Syria, Central Africa and Ivory Coast – in addition to more than 56,000 refugees from Mali who live in Mbera camp near the Malian border.

WRD - Nouakchott, Mauritania

Refugees perform a play during celebrations for World Refugee Day in Nouakchott, Mauritania.  © UNHCR/Viola E Bruttomesso


Geneva, Switzerland

UNHCR staff and Afghan musician Khalid Arman gathered to show their support for refugees.


Juba, South Sudan

UNHCR staff, refugees and their South Sudanese hosts sway to live music at a party to mark World Refugee Day in Juba, South Sudan.

South Sudan. World Refugee Day 2018 in Juba

World Refugee Day 2018 celebration held in Juba, South Sudan. Refugees,  © UNHCR/Eujin Byun


Panama City, Panama

Salvadoran refugee chef Maribel Martinez serves diners at the Azafran restaurant in Panama City, as the Refugee Food Festival gets under way in the Central American nation's capital.

Panama. Panamanians and foreigners enjoy dishes prepared by refugee cooks with local renowned chefs for World Refugee Day

Chef Maribel Martinez serves her grandfather, Emerson. at Azafran restaurant in Panama City, the Central American nation's capital.  © UNHCR/Armando Escapa


Anyake settlement, Nigeria

Love conquers all in this settlement in Nigeria where a cast of Cameroonian refugees put on a play about warring tribes that reconcile when two young people fall in love.

Nigeria. World Refugee Day celebrations in Anyake settlement

Cameroonian refugees perform a play about conflict, love and reconciliation in Nigeria.  © UNHCR/Chiara Cavalcanti


Moscow, Russia

Afghan refugees are taking part in a basketball masterclass with BC Khimki, as part of events in Moscow.

UNHCR RF. World Refugee Day 2018.

A basketball masterclass for Afghan refugees in Moscow.  © UNHCR/Evgeny Solodov


Niamey, Niger

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi travelled overnight from Libya to Niger with 122 refugees released from detention centres in Tripoli. "Many rich countries are closing their doors to refugees. Niger shares with them its very few resources," he said. "I am humbled to spend World Refugee Day with the people and leaders of this generous African nation."

Niger. Migrants and refugees having been freed from captivity in Libya greet UN High Commissioner for Refugees

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi visits previously evacuated migrants and refugees now sheltered in Niger under UNHCR's care.  © UNHCR/Jehad Nga


Dublin, Ireland

Delicious Syrian man’oushe (flat bread) is being served up in Ireland.


New York, USA

Actor and UNHCR Supporter Ben Stiller teamed up with writer and former Iraqi refugee Ahmed Badr in New York, to cook up an at-home version of chicken shawarma.


Kyiv, Ukraine

In a country where four years of conflict have forced more than 1.5 million people from their homes, Clowns Without Borders are bringing smiles to the faces of refugee and displaced children.


Beirut, Lebanon

Refugees from Syria and Iraq are sharing their wishes of peace and stability for their home countries.


Sydney, Australia

The Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, is among scores of city managers worldwide who launched a Cities #WithRefugees initiative, urging municipalities to join them in welcoming and including refugees in their communities.


Rome, Italy

Pope Francis stands in solidarity #WithRefugees.


Tallinn, Estonia

Visitors, young and old, to the Maritime Museum in Tallinn are paying tribute to the many Estonians who were forced to flee on fishing boats during the Second World War.


Damak, Nepal

Celebrations in Nepal included colorful dances and songs from Bhutanese refugee women.

Dancers in Nepal mark World Refugee Day 2018.  © UNHCR


Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

Rohingya refugee children have been busy drawing their hopes and dreams on a tent in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. The tent is on display at the city’s Cultural Centre.


Delhi, India

Refugees in Delhi are enjoying free yoga lessons thanks to volunteer instructor Nandini Jayaprasad.


Mtendeli camp, Tanzania

Drumbeats and dance steps get celebrations under way at Mtendeli camp in Tanzania, which hosts thousands of refugees from neighbouring Burundi.


Strasbourg, France

An Alsatian restaurant serves traditional "tarte flambée" with an Iraqi twist, as the Refugee Food Festival gets going in Strasbourg.


Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

A UNHCR staff member gets her hands daubed in the agency's colours at an art workshop for young Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. The artworks are being exhibited at the city's Cultural Centre. More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since violence erupted in Myanmar last August.

Bangladesh. Painting a UNHCR tent

One of the Bangladesh local staff, at the transit center shows off the UN blue and one of it many uses.  © UNHCR/Patrick Brown


Obock, Djibouti

Using their talents with needle and thread, women refugees from Yemeni starting over in Djibouti make wallets and clutches decorated with the UNHCR logo.


Kathmandu, Nepal

The historic Ghantaghar clock tower in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, is illuminated in UNHCR colours to celebrate the lives of refugees.

In Nepal, to celebrate the life of refugees and express solidarity with them, the historic Ghantaghar clock tower in Kathmandu was illuminated in blue on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The lighting will continue on Wednesday, June 20.   © UNHCR/Deepesh Das Shrestha


Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Enterprising refugees sold handmade clothes, jewellery, art and food at a market in downtown Kinshasa. The market was organized by UNHCR to help the refugees find new customers and, of course, make friends in the country, which hosts more than 540,000 refugees from Burundi, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

DRC: refugee entrepreneurs in Kinsasa present their goods

A UNHCR staff member poses with a refugee from South Sudan at a market in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Reoublic of the Congo.  © UNHCR


Washington, USA

A photo exhibition brought the lives of Rohingya refugees into sharp focus in the U.S. Congress. The exhibit captures the precarious situation of some of the 700,000 women, men and children who have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since violence erupted in Myanmar last August.

United States. Rohingya photo exhibition shown in U.S. Congress for World Refugee Day

A visitor views photos of the Rohingya refugee crisis displayed in Russell Rotunda as part of a photo exhibition to commemorate World Refugee Day.  © UNHCR/Arielle Moncure


Sydney, Australia

Hundreds of supporters of Australia for UNHCR got together for a World Refugee Day breakfast, standing with miillions of people uprooted from their homes worldwide.


Bucharest, Romania

Rappers Seeds of Freedom kicked off celebrations over the weekend with a concert in Bucharest. The band is made up of Romanians and refugees in their teens whose music and poetry bridges the two communities.

Rappers Seeds of Freedom perform in Bucharest.  © UNHCR/Ioana Epure


Kampala, Uganda

Refugee breakdancers practise their moves ahead of a World Refugee Day show in Uganda. There are 1.4 million refugees in Uganda, of whom more than 1 million have entered the country in the past 18 months.


Domiz refugee camp, northern Iraq

On 18 June, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visited Domiz refugee camp in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, where she met with Syrian families and listened to their stories of flight and exile. In this photo she speaks with Syrian children who are growing up in the camp.

Iraq. Special Envoy visit to Domiz Refugee camp

In the run up to World Refugee Day, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie meets young Syrian refugees in Domiz Refugee Camp, Iraq, on June 17, 2018.   © UNHCR/Andrew McConnell