Today (Monday, 20 June) is World Refugee Day, an event Migrant Help UK is proud to be associated with.
It is marked on 20 June every year and follows the UN General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution noting that 2001 was the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
In its annual report, released today to mark World Refugee Day, the UN refugee agency said the number of refugees worldwide had passed the 60 million mark for the first time.
It estimates that 65.3m people were either refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced at the end of 2015. This was an increase of 5 million in just one year. The total figures represented one in every 113 people on the planet, the agency says.
But the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi also said that a worrying ’climate of xenophobia’ had taken hold in Europe as it struggles to cope with the migrant crisis. The influx of people, the biggest since World War Two, has led to greater support for far-right groups and controversial anti-immigration policies, he said. More than half of the total comes from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.
This week in June is also Refugee Week, and Migrant Help UK is an official partner of the event UK-wide. The theme this year is ‘Welcome’.
Migrant Help UK was at the official launch at the Southbank Centre in London yesterday (Sunday, 19 June) with organisations such as the British Red Cross, International Organisation for Migration and UNHCR.
Across the UK, the week is marked by a programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities celebrate the contribution of refugees to our society. It also promotes a better understanding of why people seek sanctuary.