Posts Tagged ‘UNHCR’

Today is World Refugee Day

Today, June 20, is World Refugee Day. It is a day to acknowledge, and pledge to help, the millions of women, men, and children around the world who have been displaced from their homes by violence and conflict. There are over 45 million refugees adrift from familiar home territory right now–more than the entire population of Canada–and it is a crisis we cannot ignore. Our global family hurts. There are myriad ways to involve yourself today, please find a way to lend your support, your voice, your prayers, your energy, and your intention that wars can conclude, occupations can resolve, violence can fade away, and families can go home.

Here are just a few initiatives:

United Nations World Refugee Malaria Program (send a necessary bed net to a family on the run with no protection from this deadly, and preventable, disease).

Dadaab Stories chronicles life in refugee camps, working with FilmAid‘s tireless work in refugee communities.

i-Act actions for Darfur refugees on World Refugee Day and beyond.

As Angelina Jolie, who is in Syria today as an envoy for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) helps point out, the war in Syria forced more people to flee last year than any other conflict in the world. In the last six months the number has more than doubled to 1.6 million, of whom 540,000 are in Jordan. “The worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century is unfolding in the Middle East today,” said Ms. Jolie.

Photo: UNHCR/O.Laban-Mattel

Photo: UNHCR/O.Laban-Mattel

Scared and exhausted, fleeing for their lives with only what they can carry…this is going on in too many places…

World Refugee Day, Angelina Jolie, and Taking Action

Angelina Jolie was just displaced (by Kristen Stewart) from the number one spot on the list of the highest grossing female entertainers…but her position there has afforded her to address, in a huge way, displacement that actually means something. Jolie has long had a vocal presence in the fight for support and recognition of refugees of war, and yesterday, on World Refugee Day as recognized by the United Nations and UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency), the activist/actress donated $100,000 to help Syrian refugees.

Around the world, every minute, another eight people are displaced from their homes, families, villages, cities, nations…no one chooses to be displaced. From a press release, Jolie is quoted:

“We risk forgetting the individual when we speak in numbers, but the numbers tell an important story. In the past year 4.3 million people have become displaced. There are still 2.7 million refugees from Afghanistan. 12 million people are stateless. And for the fifth consecutive year the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide exceeded 42 million.

“Sadly, a person who becomes a refugee is likely to remain one for many years – often stuck in a camp or living precariously in the city of a developing nation. 70 per cent of refugees under UNHCR’s protection have been in this situation for more than five years. Their safety and well-being depend on the continued generosity of those countries who have kept their borders open to refugees, and on the vital efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance wherever and whenever it is necessary.

“Unfortunately, the world is producing displaced people faster than it is producing solutions to displacement. And the solutions are not exclusively humanitarian – they are also political. The international community should rededicate itself to preventing conflict, addressing it when it erupts, and solving it more quickly, for that is the only way to create durable solutions for the refugees whose strength inspires us on this World Refugee Day.”

How, and where, do you put your money where your mouth is, supporting the things that inspire or defeating the things that horrify you? Give me some ideas of movements that matter to you in the comments section below–I’m sure we all want to know more.