World Refugee Day 2020

World Refugee Day 2020: “every action counts”

20 June 2020 is World Refugee Day. This year, World Refugee Day is celebrated in the midst of dramatic social change due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The goal of World Refugee Day 2020 is to celebrate refugees who are on the frontlines fighting the pandemic, their hosts and the aid workers supporting them. Refugees too can act and bring positive change to society. They can help in creating a more just and inclusive world. Every action counts and everyone can make a difference.

To know more about World Refugee Day 2020

World Refugee Day campaign 2020 ©HCR

This is at the heart of UNHCR’s World Refugee Day campaign. UNHCR stands for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN agency for refugees, based in Geneva. Founded in 1950 during the aftermath of the Second World War to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes, UNHCR is still hard at work 70 years later, protecting and assisting refugees around the world.

Visit UNHCR’s website to learn more

1 per cent of humanity displaced

According to UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, released on 18 June 2020, forced displacement is now affecting more than one per cent of humanity —1 in every 97 people. The report shows that an unprecedented 79.5 million were displaced as of the end of 2019. UNHCR has not seen a higher total.

Whist more and more people are displaced, the prospects for those who flee to be able to return home are diminishing. According to UNHCR, in the 1990s, on average 1.5 million refugees were able to return home each year. Over the past decade that number has fallen to around 385,000.

Read UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report

Venezuelans crossing river Tachira to join Colombia. April 2019. ©HCR/Vincent Tremeau

Refugees are significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic

Refugees and displaced persons are often vulnerable and marginalised populations. They are exposed to the virus due to their limited access to health services, medical aid, hygiene items and water. Ensuring the safety of refugees means ensuring the safety of all.

Hence, UNHCR strengthened its action in health, hygiene, water and sanitation fields, in order to better protect refugees and internally displaced persons. The organisation is also working to make governments aware of the problem and ensure that displaced persons are included in Covid-19 response and recovery policies.

More informations on UNHCR’s action in the context of the pandemic on their website

Malian refugees gather to receive aid in the Goudoubo camp, Burkina Faso. 3 February 2020. ©HCR/Sylvain Cherkaoui

France is committed to the cause of refugees

Humanitarian action is a pillar of France’s foreign policy. France supports UNHCR and its action.

France is committed to the cause of refugees by:

  1. implementing the Global Compact on Refugees;
  2. respecting political and financial commitments made to UNHRC;
  3. taking part in the first edition of the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva in December 2019.

The first edition of the Global Refugee Forum was a success in terms of attendance and commitments made. France was represented by a large delegation and implicated in the organisation and coordination of the Forum.

Last updated on: 18 June 2020