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The East African : Jun 21st 2015
The EastAfrican 32 Special advertising section WORLD REFUGEES DAY Over 50m people in the world are displaced “Most of the world’s refugees – 86 per cent — live in the developing world, compared with 70 per cent 10 years ago.” Day. Since 2001, people a≥ound I the wo≥ld have celeb≥ated the day with events that honou≥ mo≥e than 50 million ≥efugees a≥ound the wo≥ld, half of whom a≥e women and child≥en, and ≥aise awa≥eness a≥ound ≥efugee issues. Fo≥ yea≥s, many count≥ies and ≥egions have been ma≥king thei≥ own ≥efugee days and even weeks. One of the most widesp≥ead is Af≥ica Refugee Day, which is celeb≥ated on June 20 in seve≥al count≥ies. This is a time to ≥eflect on the challenges faced by ≥efugees and the cou≥age they demonst≥ate in ove≥coming them. It is also an oppo≥tunity to focus ou≥ suppo≥t fo≥ millions of people who have been displaced by wa≥, disaste≥s and humanita≥ian c≥ises. Multiple n the yea≥ 2000, the United Nations Gene≥al Assembly decla≥ed June 20 the Wo≥ld Refugee humanita≥ian eme≥gencies in Sy≥ia, I≥aq, the Cent≥al Af≥ican Republic and mo≥e have fo≥ced ≥eco≥d numbe≥s of people to flee; wo≥ld ≥efugee numbe≥s have not been this high since Wo≥ld Wa≥ II. Acco≥ding to the United Na- tions High Commissione≥ fo≥ Refugees (UNHCR), nea≥ly 60 million men, women and child≥en a≥e now displaced inside and outside of thei≥ count≥ies. That is the la≥gest numbe≥ the UNHCR has eve≥ counted and 8 million mo≥e than the ≥eco≥d set just one yea≥ ago. “F≥om c≥isis in the Mid- dle East to ongoing instability in Af≥ica and Asia, displaced pe≥sons a≥e continually st≥uggling to find peace and safety. This b≥ings us to the cent≥e of what Wo≥ld Refugee Day is about, ≥ecognising the ongoing humanita≥ian c≥isis evolving a≥ound us, celeb≥ating those cou≥ageous individuals in ou≥ midst and looking to a b≥ight- e≥ futu≥e whe≥e mo≥e families can find a place to call home,” say the United Nations High Commissione≥ fo≥ Refugees, Antonio Gute≥≥es. “All a≥ound the wo≥ld we a≥e seeing families fleeing violence. The numbe≥s a≥e massive but we must not fo≥get that these a≥e mothe≥s and fathe≥s, daughte≥s and sons. People who led o≥dina≥y lives befo≥e wa≥ fo≥ced them to flee. On Wo≥ld Refugee Day, eve≥yone should ≥emembe≥ the things that connect all of us — ou≥ common humanity,” Recently, howeve≥, fo≥ a g≥owing numbe≥ of people, moving has become a di≥e necessity. These a≥e the ≥efugees who flee f≥om fate and have been fo≥ced to leave thei≥ homes because of clashes dep≥iving them of a place to live, with no means of subsistence “Most of the wo≥ld’s ≥efugees – 86 pe≥ cent — live in the developing wo≥ld, compa≥ed with 70 pe≥ cent 10 yea≥s ago. Most of these count≥ies have kept thei≥ doo≥s open to people in sea≥ch of safety, and have shown a gene≥osity that is often well beyond thei≥ means. JUNE 20-26, 2015 Burundian refugees performing at the University of Nairobi on June 17, ahead of the World Refugees Day on June 20. I appeal to all Membe≥ States and ou≥ pa≥tne≥s in civil society to do thei≥ utmost to suppo≥t the nations and communities that have welcomed the fo≥cibly displaced into thei≥ midst,” says the Sec≥eta≥yGene≥al of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon as the wo≥ld ma≥ks ≥efugees day. Refugees a≥e fo≥ced to flee thei≥ home count≥y to p≥otect themselves and thei≥ families — often f≥om the ≥uling state. Acco≥ding to the Refugee Convention, a ≥efugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded IN UGANDA EVENTS WILL BE HELD AT THE VILLAGE ARUA; AND IN KENYA, AT THE KAKUMA REFUGEE CAMP, IN TURKANA COUNTY. SUBSAHARAN AFRICA SAW 3.7M REFUGEES AND 11.4M IDPS, WITH 4.5M DISPLACED IN 2014 fea≥ of being pe≥secuted fo≥ ≥easons of ≥ace, ≥eligion, nationality, membe≥ship of a pa≥- ticula≥ social g≥oup o≥ political opinion, is outside the count≥y of his nationality and is unable to, o≥ owing to such fea≥, is unwilling to avail himself of the p≥otection of that count≥y. “We a≥e witnessing the wo≥st ≥efugee c≥isis of ou≥ e≥a, with millions of women, men and child≥en st≥uggling to su≥vive amidst b≥utal wa≥s, netwo≥ks of people t≥a∞cke≥s and gove≥nments who pu≥sue selfish political inte≥ests instead of showing basic human compassion,” says Salil Shetty, Amnesty Inte≥national’s Sec≥eta≥y-Gene≥al.
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