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UN refugee chief calls for solidarity during Ramadan

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UN refugee chief calls for solidarity during Ramadan

As holy month begins amid the coronavirus pandemic, Filippo Grandi asks us to remember almost 70 million people forcibly uprooted from their homes.
23 April 2020


With the Holy Month of Ramadan upon us, I would like to wish all those observing a blessed month ahead.

This Ramadan is very different from any we have experienced in our lifetime. A month that symbolizes coming together has now been characterized by families and communities separated by a global pandemic that has left no one unaffected.

There will be very little congregation or group prayer.

Many will not be able to break the fast with families and friends.

Instead, most will dedicate the month to spiritual growth and deep reflection.

For more than 70 million refugees and displaced persons, the concept of “home” is a distant reality. For some, separation from family, loved ones, and their communities has been part of their lives for years, if not decades.

In this time of uncertainty and fear, I am inspired by the countless stories of hope, humanity, and generosity.

Ordinary individuals are at the front lines supporting governments and institutions. UNHCR is with them working round the clock to contain this deadly outbreak and ensure that the most vulnerable are supported.

Refugees themselves are stepping forward to help their host communities in every way they can. We have seen families delivering food to elderly neighbours; refugee-led businesses donating essential medical supplies to charities; and many other acts in support of the communities in which refugees find themselves.

And host communities continue to demonstrate overwhelming generosity in providing shelter and sharing what little they have.

It is important to remember that generosity is not only translated materially but through a kind gesture; a word of encouragement; a smile; a good deed.

This pandemic reminds us that we are facing these challenges together. This month allows us an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the communities we live in and hold dear and our collective efforts to cope and overcome.

While the spirit of human solidarity has been put to the test, I can confidently say: humanity will not be defeated.

Ramadan Kareem