On June 20, the world commemorates the strength, courage, and resilience of millions of refugees.
65.3 million people are currently displaced worldwide, of whom 21.3 million are refugeees and 10 million are stateless people. 54 % of refugees world wide come from three countries: Somalia (1.1 million), Afghanistan (2.7 million) and Syria (4.9 million)
Each day 33,972 people flee their homes because of conflict and persecution, leaving everything behind – everything except their hopes and dreams for a safer future.
What a challenge this presents to each one of us!
UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, is asking us all to help them send a clear message to governments that they must act with solidarity and shared responsibility by signing the #With Refugees Petition.
The #WithRefugees petition will be delivered to UN headquarters in New York ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting on September 19. The petition asks governments to:
- Ensure every refugee child gets an education.
- Ensure every refugee family has somewhere safe to live.
- Ensure every refugee can work or learn new skills to make a positive contribution to their community.
In his message for the 102nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees (17 January, 2016), Pope Francis challenged us to respond: ‘Indifference and silence lead to complicity whenever we stand by as people are dying of suffocation, starvation, violence and shipwreck. Whether large or small in scale, these are always tragedies, even when a single human life is lost.’.
Let us pray that we will each be motivated to answer this call.