Saturday 20 June is World Refugee Day – the theme this year is that Every Action Counts. The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent anti-racism protests have shown us how desperately we need to fight for a world with equity and justice. World refugee day is an excellent opportunity for broad-based, humane and international solidarity.
The aim of World Refugee Day is about raising awareness of the situation and showing refugees that together we can work to end the crisis and help displaced people to find safe and happy homes.
Refugees flee because they have no choice, and right now there have never been so many. In their search for safety, they leave everything behind: their friends, property, work, their lives.
What is a refugee? A refugee is a person who is on the run from violence, war or persecution because of race, religion, nationality, sex, sexual preference, political belief or belonging to a social group. They flee to survive, and they experience all kinds of things along the way.
Three quarters of all refugees are women and children, more than half are under the age of 18. Violence against women is a global problem, but women and girls on the run are especially vulnerable to abuse, sexual exploitation and violence.
Many countries are experiencing unseen poverty due to the corona crisis. The economy is imploding, famine is imminent and discrimination against refugees is increasing significantly.
The situations in refugee camps in Greece, such as Moira and Lesbos, are also deteriorating day by day. In the camps there are currently hardly any options to slow down the spread of the disease. Keeping a distance to prevent the spread of corona is not always possible. People live in crowded camps under degrading conditions with residents lining up in rows for food distributions. The tents are small and often many people sleep together. Due to water and food supply problems, they face health risks, including acute malnutrition, diabetes and anaemia.
With the recent news it has never been clearer that we all have a role to play in order to bring change. Our journey as a human race is to ultimately attain compassion, wisdom, justice and love. Everyone can make a difference, your voice matters, your messages matter. Robert Frost the poet says “There will be moments in your life where two roads diverge in the wood, and when that happens, be courageous. So join us in the effort of UNHCR.org to create a more just, inclusive, and equal world because every Action Counts.