World refugee day is marked every year on June 20th with the aim of disseminating information and highlighting the plight of refugees all over the world. The world refugee day began in Africa where it was celebrated but the states under the umbrella of organization of Africa unity (OAU).
A petition by the same organization to the united nations made the holiday a public day celebrated all over the world. The world refugee day is now celebrated under the umbrella on the United Nations High Commission for refugees which is the main body charged with the responsibility of handling refugee situations all over the world.
In the year 2010, the United Nations high commission for refugees dubbed the world refugee day with the theme “home”. The theme was meant to emphasize the importance of the international and national communities coming together to ensure those uprooted from their homes were returned and settled back permanently.
By 2010, the statistics showed that more than 40 million people had been uprooted from their homes perhaps due to wars, and other internal and external conflicts. For this reason the call was for both inter-cultural and cultural communities to unite forces in forging peace in war torn areas, and areas facing internal conflict and thereby enable the resettlement of refuges.
At the time of the celebrations, there was a united call to governments to take up the responsibility of financing and facilitating the resettlement of refuges whether internally displaced persons or externally displaced persons. The host countries that have a high population of refugees often use this day not just to highlight the issues that surround refuges but to also call for help while trying to make things better for refugees. Such countries often find that they are overwhelmed by the number of people fleeing into the country and hence the population they are now expected to take care of.
For example in 2009 world refugee celebrations, Kenya a country bordering war torn Somalia took the time to highlight the issues the country was facing with regard to the ever growing population in the Dadaab refugee camp, this included lack of shelter, food, social amenities and the diminishing state of security.
The media plays a major role in highlighting the plight of refugees by bringing independent and exclusive reports on the situation at the groups and how each person can participate in alleviating this vice. In fact the media also plays a major role in marking the world refugee day, as they travel across the globe marking and recording events with regard to the refugee situation. It is estimated that with the ever growing unsettlements especially in the less developed countries, there are chances that the refugee population will double before the next year’s celebration. This has now become a matter of concern not just for individual countries but also the international community.
Learn more about refugees and how you can help:
Photo Credit: United Nations