UN Secretary-General António Guterres Calls for Global Solidarity on World Refugee Day

OV Digital Desk

June 24, 2024: In a powerful message marking World Refugee Day on June 20, UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the unprecedented global displacement crisis and called for intensified efforts to protect and support refugees worldwide. As conflicts, climate change, and socio-political upheavals continue to force people from their homes, the number of forcibly displaced individuals has surged to over 120 million, including 43.5 million refugees.

“From Sudan to Ukraine, from the Middle East to Myanmar to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and beyond, conflict, climate chaos, and upheaval are forcing record numbers of people from their homes and fuelling profound human suffering,” Guterres stated.

World Refugee Day serves as a reminder of the strength and courage exhibited by refugees, emphasizing the need for global solidarity in providing them with the necessary support to rebuild their lives with dignity. Guterres underscored the significant contributions refugees make to their host communities when given equal opportunities and access to essential services such as jobs, housing, and healthcare.

The Secretary-General also highlighted the importance of quality education for young refugees, enabling them to pursue their dreams and contribute meaningfully to society. He called for increased support and resources for the predominantly low- and middle-income countries that host the majority of the world’s refugees, to ensure their full inclusion in social and economic structures.

Guterres urged the international community to reaffirm its collective responsibility in assisting and welcoming refugees, safeguarding their human rights—including the right to seek asylum—and maintaining the integrity of the refugee protection regime. He stressed the ultimate goal of resolving the conflicts that force people to flee, allowing them to return to their communities safely.

“Let us pledge to reaffirm the world’s collective responsibility in assisting and welcoming refugees, in upholding their human rights including the right to seek asylum, in safeguarding the integrity of the refugee protection regime and, ultimately, in resolving conflicts so that those forced from their communities can return home,” Guterres concluded.

As World Refugee Day is observed, Guterres’ message serves as a crucial call to action, reminding the global community of its duty to support and protect the millions of displaced individuals around the world.

About World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day is an international day organized every year on 20 June by the United Nations. It is designed to celebrate and honour refugees from around the world. The day is an opportunity for everyone to experience, understand and celebrate the rich diversity of the communities of refugees. Events such as theatre, dance, films, and music aim to allow refugee community organizations, voluntary and statutory organizations, local councils, and schools to host events during the week in order to honour the cause.

World Refugee Day shines a light on the rights, needs, and dreams of refugees, helping to mobilize political will and resources so refugees can not only survive but also thrive. While it is important to protect and improve the lives of refugees every single day, international days like World Refugee Day help to focus global attention on the plight of those fleeing conflict or persecution. Many activities held on World Refugee Day create opportunities to support refugees.