June 20: World Refugee Day
The World Refugee Day is observed every year June 20 to raise awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. Observance of this day seeks to draw attention to the plight of refugees and also to celebrate their courage and resilience and renew commitment to solve refugee problems. The theme for World Refugee Day 2018 is “Now More Than Ever, We Need to Stand with Refugees.”
United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, defines refugees as those who have fled their country owing to well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in particular social group or political opinion. UN has revealed that record high of 68.5 million individuals have now been displaced worldwide due to war, poverty, persecution and other events.
On this day, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNRA) also known as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) hosts various events and announces theme for its campaign. With this, UNRA seeks to draw 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.
The World Refugee Day was proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) h by passing Resolution 55/76 on 4 December 2000. The resolution was passed to mark 50th anniversary of UN Refugee Convention, 1951. 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. The theme for year 2017 was “Embracing Refugees to Celebrate our Common Humanity”.