Saturday, June 19, 2010

June 20: World Refugee Day

This year, June 20 is Father's Day in the United States.  This year, it is also WORLD REFUGEE DAY.

For years, many countries and regions have been holding their own Refugee Days and even Weeks. One of the most widespread is Africa Refugee Day, which is celebrated on 20 June in several countries. As an expression of solidarity with Africa, which hosts the most refugees, and which traditionally has shown them great generosity, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 55/76 on 4 December 2000. In this resolution, the General Assembly noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June. The Assembly therefore decided that, from 2001, 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day. [Note: The OAU was replaced by the African Union on 9 July 2002.]

On June 20th of each year, we celebrate the United Nations' World Refugee Day. First recognized in 2000, it is a day to honor the struggle of refugees from all over the world and to recognize the courage that it takes to leave one's homeland in the hopes of a safer, more secure life in a foreign land. World Refugee Day is also a day to recognize the contributions of refugees to this country.

This year's theme for World Refugee Day is "Home."

Here are some refugee-related resources:

On Immigration Advocates Network:

April 2010 DHS Office of Immigration Statistics Report on Refugees and Asylees 

An annual report to U.S. Congress from DHS and other federal agencies regarding the "Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2010"

The Advocates for Human Rights have produced materials on the rights of migrants, including a fact sheet and other resources,

An Advocates' fact sheet on immigration and human rights

Additional resources on using a human rights framework for immigration cases

Immigration resources

Energy of a Nation website

 Amnesty International provides statistics on the 200 million people living outside their home countries in the "Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons" section of their website 

The Department of State publishes an annual report on human rights practices around the globe

Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch publishes an annual report on human rights' issues around the world

International Rescue Committee's efforts to resettle refugees.  For more information, visit

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has developed community and congregational resources for World Refugee Day 2010

Office of Refugee Resettlement (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services): Fact sheet on the Office of Refugee Resettlement's goals and structure

Other information and resources on programs that benefit refugees

UNHCR Details about World Refugee Day 2010 activities and suggested activities for local communities 

The UNHCR reports on ongoing activities around the world in "The sun never sets on World Refugee Day events."


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