World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 to respect and honour the courage and resilience of refugees across the globe. The United Nations designated the day to celebrate the strength and courage of people forced to flee their homes and countries to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is also a day to build empathy and understanding of their plight and to recognize their efforts in rebuilding their lives. The day recognises the rights, needs and dreams of refugees.
Here are five facts about refugees you need to know this World Refugee Day:
1) Who is a refugee?
A person forced to flee his or her country following persecution, war or violence is a refugee. According to the United Nations people who fled their homes and countries due to "a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion" is a refugee.
2) What's the number of refugees worldwide?
At the end of 2020, a mammoth 82.4 million remained forcibly displaced worldwide due to persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. According to the UN, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the rate of displacement, and thus the number of people seeking asylum remains high. In 2020 alone, asylum-seekers submitted 1.1 million new claims, the UN said.
3) A refugee camp
More than 6 million refugees live in camps worldwide, as per the United Nations records. These camps are temporary facilities offering immediate protection and assistance to people forced to flee their homes due to war, persecution or violence. The camps are not a permanent solution, but they give shelter to refugees and help them meet their basic needs - such as food, water, shelter, medical treatment and other basic services in times of emergencies.
4) Which country hosts the largest number of refugees?
Turkey currently hosts 3.6 million refugees, the largest by a single country, followed by Columbia that shelters 1.8 million people, including people who fled Venezuela in the last few years, according to the latest United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report on forced displacement.
5) Countries most refugees came from
Over two-thirds of the refugees worldwide come from just five countries, the UNHCR report added.
Syria: 6.6 million
Venezuela: 3.7 million
Afghanistan: 2.7 million
South Sudan: 2.3 million
Myanmar: 1.0 million