“No one wants to become a refugee. No one should have to endure this humiliating and arduous ordeal. Yet, millions do. Even one refugee forced to flee, one refugee forced to return to danger is one too many.” – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on World Refugee Day, when it was first officially marked on June 20, 2001.
- World Refugee Day, held each year on June 20, was first marked in 2001, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The annual event is recognized in more than 100 countries, involving government officials, aid workers, celebrities, civilians and the forcibly displaced. Learn more at the UN Refugee Agency.
- The theme of World Refugee Day 2012 is “Refugees have no choice. You do.” It is part of the United Nations “Dilemmas” campaign, which highlights the difficult decisions refugees must make for survival.
- There are currently 264,574 refugees and 6,285 asylum seekers in the United States, according to UNHCR. Globally, there are 10.5 million “refugees of concern” at the beginning of 2011.
- Angelina Jolie, appointed Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, has helped promote World Refugee Day
- In New York, UNHCR will be commemorating World Refugee Day during an evening event at the UN Secretariat Building in Manhattan. The event will launch a photo and text exhibit on the UNHCR publication, “The State of the World’s Refugees.”Learn about World Refugee Day events taking place worldwide.
- In Washington, D.C., Khaled Hosseini, Afghan-born author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, as well as UNHCR supporter and former refugee, will be involved in several events featuring international artists. Hosseini will introduce a live performance of “No Place Called Home,” written and performed by Kim Schultz. The play tells the story of an American woman who accidentally falls in love with an Iraqi man while interviewing refugees.
- Looking for more World Refugee Day events throughout the country? Explore the full list of official World Refugee Day 2012 events in the United States.
- Looking for World Refugee Day events elsewhere in New York State? There are events taking place today in Utica, Syracuse, and Albany.
Top content on refugee services at Catholic Charities:
- JustLove on SiriusXM: On a special World Refugee Day broadcast, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan speaks with guests who work and volunteer in the field of refugee resettlement and employment.
- A New, Safer Life. “Manaf Hashim did not know who was threatening to kill him in the note left on the front door of his Baghdad home or in a message left on his cellphone two days later. He suspected he was being targeted because his fiancée, Farah, was Sunni, and he was Shia. He knew only that it was best to heed such warnings…”
- Burmese Couple Build Life in the Bronx. “Bae Reh and his wife, Moo Pro, were raised on a five-mile-long patch of land they were not permitted to leave, except to gather leaves to fortify the bamboo huts in which they slept. They are refugees from Myanmar whose parents fled to a camp in Thailand to escape a government that drafted citizens at random and forced them to commit atrocities against their own ethnic tribes.“
- On the Road with the Neediest Cases: On the Anniversary of Haiti’s Earthquake. “Jovins told me he feels lucky despite losing half his leg. The massive earthquake that struck Haiti just over a year ago tore a beam from his home, pinned him down and crushed his leg...”
- Saving a Refuge, With Help from Our Volunteers. Volunteers help restore St. Rita’s Center for Immigrant and Refugee Services.
- Learn more about what Catholic Charities does to help refugees and immigrants in New York.