UNHCR’s new 2 Billion Kilomters to Safety campaign invites the public to step in solidarity with refugees

The 2 Billion Kkilometers to Safety campaign will encourage people to support refugees by championing individual acts of solidarity. These acts, when taken together, acknowledge the resilience and strength of refugees.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today announced a new global campaign calling on people all over the world to cover the distance traveled by refugees each year.

The 2 Billion Kilometers to Safety campaign will encourage people to support refugees by championing individual acts of solidarity. These acts, when taken together, acknowledge the resilience and strength of refugees.

UNHCR traced the journeys of refugees around the world and calculated that collectively, people forced to flee travel approximately two billion kilometers every year to reach the first point of safety. In 2016, Syrian refugees traveled more than 240 kilometers to reach Turkey. South Sudanese refugees traveled more than 640 kilometers to reach Kenya and Rohingya refugees in Myanmar traveled approximately 80 kilometers to reach Bangladesh.

The 2 Billion Kilometers to Safety campaign invites people to act in solidarity and run, walk or cycle to achieve a cumulative total of two billion kilometers. Participants can use their fitness apps or the campaign website – www.stepwithrefugees.org/en-ph – to log the kilometers and contribute to a global total.

“Every day, we are inspired by the acts of kindness from people who are doing their very best to improve life for refugees: the activists, the communities hosting refugees, businesses, donors, volunteers. This campaign will encourage people to support refugees through something they are already doing – walking, cycling, running,” said UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Kelly T. Clements. “At a time when we are facing so many misconceptions about refugees, it is vital that we remind ourselves of the real and dangerous journeys they are forced to take.”

In 2019, people in 27 countries across Africa, Asia, Central and North America, Europe and the Middle East will take part in the campaign, including individuals, celebrity supporters, refugees and UNHCR personnel. Participants can also seek sponsorship to raise funds. UNHCR hopes to raise over US$ 15 million to support refugees with registration and reception services, food and water, shelter, basic aid, healthcare and psychological support.

“Families forced to flee violence and persecution make extraordinary efforts to survive,” says UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Ben Stiller. “They are running for their lives, for a safe roof over their heads and a place where they don’t have to live in fear. This is why I’m stepping with refugees and taking part in the 2 Billion Kilometers to Safety campaign. And I’m asking everyone to join me.”

To join the campaign, please visit the website: www.stepwithrefugees.org/en-ph