Observances Current Affairs - 2019
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The 4th International Yoga day was celebrated on June 21, 2018 across the world to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga. The theme this year was “Yoga for Peace”. The day’s celebration in India were led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Dehradun, Uttarakhand. He was joined by joined thousands of volunteers, who performed Yoga asanas in the lawns of Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun.
International Yoga Day (IYD)
The idea of celebrating the International Yoga Day was pitched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2014. Later in December 2014, UNGA unanimously (endorsed by record 175 member states) adopted India-led resolution (69/131) to observe 21st June as International Day of Yoga.
This resolution was adopted under agenda of UN’s ‘Global Health and Foreign Policy’. The date 21st June was selected because it represents one of the two solstices and is the longest day in Northern Hemisphere (summer solstice) which has special significance in many parts of the world. The first International Yoga Day (IYD) was celebrated across the world on 21 June 2015.
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word yoga derives from Sanskrit which means to join or to unite, symbolizing union of body and consciousness. Yoga if it is practiced by all on daily basis in the early morning has numerous health benefits. The benefits of Yoga include increased muscle strength and tone, increased flexibility, improved respiration, energy and vitality. It also helps to maintain balanced metabolism, reduces weight, improves cardio and circulatory health and improves athletic performance. It was inscribed in the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in December 2016.
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”.