Refugees Current Affairs

Filippo Grandi takes charge as UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Senior United Nations (UN) official Filippo Grandi from Italy has taken the charge as new UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

He succeeds Antonio Guterres of Portugal who has retired after heading the Refugee Agency for one decade. He will have tenure of five years.

About Filippo Grandi

  • He has worked in international affairs for over 30 years as a Italian diplomat, of which 27 years he spent with the United Nations.
  • He started his career in the office of UNHCR in 1988 and had represented UN in refugee and political affairs in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
  • He also had served as head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
  • He had worked prior to that for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) as Deputy Special Representative.

About United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

  • UNHCR is a United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
  • Established: December 14, 1950.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Initially it was established to help people displaced by World War II. But later it became the principal agency that has helped displaced persons all over world.
  • Mission: Safeguard the political and human rights as well as well-being of refugees. Seek lasting solutions to the plights of refugees.

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June 20: World Refugee Day

Every year June 20 is observed as World Refugee Day to raise awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. The theme for year 2015 is With courage let us all combine.
Background of World Refugee Day

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had passed a resolution to observe 20 June as World Refugee Day on 4 December 2000.

It was passed to mark 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Since then it is observed annually with different themes.

Prior to passing of this resolution in 2000, African Refugee Day was formally celebrated on 20 June in several countries especially by Organization of African Unity (OAU) member states.

On this day, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNRA) hosts various events and announces a theme for its campaign.

With this UNRA seeks to draw the public’s attention to the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide who have fled their homes forcefully due to war, conflict and persecution.

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