UN chief calls for ‘solidarity, compassion and action’ on World Refugee Day

Olivia Headon/IOM
Women and children wait for aid in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where one million Rohingya refugees now live.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

With more than 68 million people worldwide displaced due to conflict or persecution — roughly equivalent to the population of Thailand— the head of the United Nations has called for unity and solidarity as a first step to support them.

The appeal by Secretary-General António Guterres comes in a video message for World Refugee Day, observed this Wednesday, 20 June.

In it, he reported that a person was displaced every two seconds during 2017.

“On World Refugee Day, we must all think about what more we can we do to help.”  The answer, he added, “begins with unity and solidarity.”

Mr. Guterres also expressed deep concern over the rise in the number of refugees who are not receiving the protection they are entitled to. He added that communities, or countries, that provide a safe haven for those fleeing war or persecution should be supported.

Later this year, a Global Compact on Refugees will be presented to the international community meeting at UN Headquarters in New York.

Mr. Guterres said it offers “a way forward” while also recognizing the contributions that refugees make to the societies hosting them.

“As long as there are wars and persecution, there will be refugees. On World Refugee Day, I ask you to remember them,” his message continued.

“Their story is one of resilience, perseverance and courage.  Ours must be of solidarity, compassion and action.”

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