Statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on World Refugee Day

Two days ago, we announced that an unprecedented number of people were in situations of forced displacement. More than 82.4 million men, women and children have seen their lives transformed by war, violence and persecution. While we spent much of 2020 at home to stay safe, they were forced to flee their homes just to stay alive.

While world leaders seem unable or unwilling to make peace, more and more uprooted people are paying the price. In the past three years alone, nearly a million children have been born in exile. What will their future be? What opportunities will they have to realize their full potential?

World Refugee Day, which we celebrate today, should remind policymakers of the need to redouble our efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts and crises. People must be protected, regardless of their race, nationality, beliefs or other characteristics. It is essential to denounce and fight injustice, rather than sowing division and fomenting hatred; to be determined to find pragmatic and lasting solutions to crises rather than blaming others or denigrating the victims.

In other words, leaders must mobilize and work together to solve today’s global challenges.

But World Refugee Day is also an opportunity to celebrate the courage of refugees. These people who have lost everything and who despite everything continue to move forward, bearing the wounds of war and persecution, the anguish of exile.

On this World Refugee Day, as we take the time to express our solidarity with displaced people in our communities and around the world, I hope that each of us will recognize and admire the will, the determination and essential contributions of those who were forced to flee. Every day of the year, my colleagues and I are privileged to witness their tenacity and accomplishments, which – especially today – should be an inspiration to everyone, everywhere across the world. world.