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World Refugee Day 2002: Poland

World Refugee Day 2002: Poland

20 June 2002


An opinion poll was conducted by the OBOP Public Opinion Polling Agency to show Polish attitudes towards refugees and the understanding of the definition of a "refugee." The research was conducted two weeks after refugee day celebrations. The results show that over 65 percent of Poles correctly understand who refugees are. Thirty-three percent of them were aware of World Refugee Day celebrations.

In Wroclaw, a two-month educational project was organised by Polish Humanitarian Action, Caritas, REM Society, Centre for Voluntary Work, and Angelus Silesius Meeting House. Lessons, games, role-playing exercises, film shows, discussions and other activities were held in many primary and secondary schools. UNHCR provided educational tools and literature.

In other regions, UNHCR approached schools to organise mini Refugee Days. Some 10 schools had lessons, games, film shows, discussions, exhibitions about refugees, using UNHCR publications and lesson plans.

In Lublin, students at Krakow Legal Clinic organised a street festival on 15 June. Music and entertainment attracted crowds of refugees and Poles on a main street. UNHCR provided posters and publications.

In Torun, during the weekend of 15-16 June, Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH) organised a stand devoted to refugee issues at the city festival.

A fair was held at the Park of Agrykola in Warsaw on 16 June:

An exhibition on UNHCR's history and refugee protection in Poland was installed. A tolerance workshop was organised by a former UNHCR intern. A role-playing exercise "Quarterland" was held for children. UNHCR volunteers organised a contest about refugees. Special coupons were printed with questions about refugees and UNHCR. The winners received prizes such as African sculptures, UNHCR books and posters. A video show took place in a Scout tent. Several UNHCR films were shown, as well as films from the Polish Red Cross, PAH, and the Polish Missions on the situation of African children. Two meetings about refugees' countries of origin were held, thanks to the journalists and the head of PAH, who joined a journalist from the daily "Rzeczpospolita" to talk about the situation in Chechnya. Two other journalists from Radio Zet and Radio RMF FM also moderated a discussion about Afghanistan. PAH volunteers ran various games and plays for children.

Among the other organisations present at the fair were Amnesty International, OSKA (Polish women's organization), No-Man-Is Illegal, La Strada, and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

An open-air concert was held at the Warsaw park of Agrykola on 16 June. Among the groups on stage were: Chechen children (traditional dances), Academia de la Lengua (Flamenco and Salsa), Milo Kurtis/Drum Freaks (world music artists contributing to Refugee Day for years), K.A.S.A "Za Friko" (pop), Solidarity (Somalia refugees), WZ-Orkiestra (Belarusian), Tam Tam Project (African and Balkan mix), Arabic Belly (Arabic), Makata (stills and fire show). The Friends of Light band (refugees from DRC and Rwanda) sang Polish poems for children - copies of the CD with the poems on African rhythms were distributed to the radio stations and extensively used to promote World Refugee Day.

In Krakow, celebrations including a concert and film show were organised by PAH together with the Krakow Legal Clinic from 16 to 20 June.

In Poznan, "One World Association" organised a street fair on 20 June, with music and information about refugees. A UNHCR exhibition was also displayed.