A message to the world’s refugees from UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi

Refugee chief says World Refugee Day is a moment to recognize the courage of the 70 million who have fled war, violence and persecution.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi marks World Refugee Day. © UNHCR

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi today pledged to do all he could to help millions of forcibly displaced people “not just to get by, but also to thrive.”


In a video address to mark World Refugee Day, Grandi said he had been “deeply moved” and “inspired” by the refugees he had met during his 35-year career, praising their courage and determination.

However, he noted that while UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, works hard to mobilize the world’s support, funding is low and resettlement places are too few.

“On this World Refugee Day, and also every day, my colleagues and I pledge to do all we can to help you – not just to get by, but also to thrive,” Grandi said.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi marks World Refugee Day.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi marks World Refugee Day.
© UNHCR

This week, UNHCR issued its annual Global Trends report, which showed the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide had risen to over 70 million by the end of 2018, the highest number in the organization’s history.

Grandi said that despite the fact that more people have been forcibly displaced than ever before, “better ways” have been developed to mobilize the world to help the displaced.

“My colleagues and I pledge to do all we can to help you.”

In December, the UN General Assembly passed the Global Compact on Refugees, which seeks a more predictable and equitable sharing of responsibility to find lasting solutions for the displaced.

Acknowledging the challenges, Grandi said: “Some countries are introducing restrictions that are hurting your access to asylum. Boats are hindered from rescuing drowning refugees. Peace talks are slow to bear fruit.

“But many generous countries and communities are still welcoming places,” he continued. “And new partners from development and the private sector are offering investment and expertise. Ordinary people are donating and volunteering. Voices of humanity are holding their ground.”

Grandi has said he hopes the world will build on these positive examples and redouble its solidarity with refugees on June 20.

“On this World Refugee Day, we must have hope,” he concluded in his address.