Events & Observances Current Affairs - 2019

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20 June: World Refugee Day observed

The World Refugee Day is observed across the world on 20 June every year. The theme for World Refugee Day 2019 was: Step with Refugees – Take a Step on World Refugee Day.

About World Refugee Day

Objective: The day is overserved annually to celebrate stories and contributions of refugees.

Background: On 4 December 2000, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in resolution 55/76 proclaimed to celebrate 20 June as World Refugee Day, starting from 2001. In this resolution, UNGA noted that 2001 marked 50th anniversary of 1951 Convention relating to Status of Refugees. It is observed to commemorate the day to honor all refugees, raise awareness and solicit support.

Observance: Individuals and community groups are encouraged to mark the World Refugee day by attending local World Refugee Day event, watching and sharing World Refugee Day videos and also by raising awareness for refugees on social media.

UNHCR Study on Refugees

As per the latest annual study released by United Nation’s office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCS) nearly 70.8 million men, women and children were forcibly displaced at the end of 2018. This is highest number of displaced individuals in organization’s 70-year history.

The study cited that violence, wars and persecution is the reason behind driving record numbers of people from their homes worldwide.

Almost 66% of those who are uprooted from their homes are internally displaced persons who have not left their homelands. Nearly 80% of these refugees live in countries neighbouring their country of origin.

Study states that on an average, 1 person is forcibly displaced every 2 seconds as a result of conflict/persecution and refugees are among the world’s most vulnerable people.

Who is a Refugee?

As per United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention– A refugee is a person who fled his/her home and country owing to a well-founded fear of persecution either because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or due to political opinion.

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19 June: World Sickle Cell Day observed

The World Sickle Cell Day is globally observed every year on 19 June, to raise public awareness about the sickle cell disease and its treatment methods. This year is the 40th celebration of World Sickle Cell Day.

About World Sickle Cell Day

Background:

The day was 1st recognized by United Nations General Assembly (63rd session) in 2008 and Sickle Cell Disease International Organization (SCDIO), Republic of Congo and the Republic of Senegal, African Union (AU), the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and WHO (World Health Organisation) backed the observation of day. For the first time the World Sickle Cell day was celebrated on 19 June, 2009.

Significance: It is celebrated to improve public awareness about genetic disease and to improve treatment outcomes of sickle cell disease by early diagnosis.

Celebrations: The day is observed in a way that NGOs, doctors, governments and support groups come together to find strategies to eliminate the sickle cell disease. Government also organise several campaigns for proper treatment and cure of those suffering from disease.

What is Sickle Cell Disease?

It is one of the most commonly occurring genetic disease. It is an inherited genetic abnormality of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein found in red blood cells) due to which red blood cells (RBCs) causes stuck in small blood vessels and are unable to carry adequate amount of oxygen throughout body.

In normal condition RBCs are flexible and round (thus move easily through blood vessels) and can live up to 120 days before body needs to replace them but in sickle cell anemia, RBCs are sickle shaped, become rigid and sticky and the sickle cells last only 10 to 20 days causing anemia because of red blood cells disorder.

As per UN estimation nearly 5 lakh children are born every year with this condition and half of them die before turning 5 years of age.

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