Issue Spotlight: World Refugee Day 20 June 2010

World Refugee Day is on Sunday the 20th of June. Please consider getting involved, even if it is just becoming a little more aware about the plight of the 43 million asylum seekers living under extremely difficult circumstances, or by spreading awareness among your networks, such as through the UN’s Refugee Agency Facebook page commemorating this event. Try reading some of the stories on the UNHCR website and read our blog for some of the other activities you might consider, by clicking here.

unhcr 18 jun 2010Image credit: UNHCR/E. Denholm.


The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently published its Global Trends Report. (UNHCR 2010). The study finds that in 2009, there were 43.3 million forcibly displaced people in the world, a figure including 15.2 million refugees who have had to flee to other countries, 27.1 million people who are internally displaced within their homelands, and  983,000 asylum seekers whose applications for refuge are still being processed. Eighty percent of these refugees are currently living in developing countries, largely in Pakistan (1.7 million), Iran (1.1 million), and Syria (1.05 million). The main cause for forced displacement is political conflict, particularly the conflicts in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

You can get involved in the World Refugee Day in lots of little ways:

  • Post a personal message or upload a video on the UNHCR Facebook page
  • If you are a student, consider taking up an UNHCR internship in your region. For example, if you are in Australia, New Zealand, Papau New Guinea and South Pacific, click here
  • Have a look at one of the UNHCR videos on the latest global trends of people who have been forcibly displaced.
  • Support grassroots groups in your local communities that are working on refugee advocacy. For example, Rise, a non-profit organisation, has been founded by ex-detainees and refugees and represents over 20 ethnic communities in Australia (RISE 2010). Check out a short video they have produced about some of the problematic aspects of Australia’s policies on the detention of refugees. Alternatively, check out their website.

References and Links

UNHCR (2010) 2009 Global Trends: Refugees, Asylum-seekers, Returnees, Internally Displaced and Stateless Persons. Geneva: UNHCR. Last accessed online 18 June 2010: http://www.unhcr.org/4c11f0be9.html

RISE (2010) RISE World Refugee Day 2010 Media Release, 1 March. Last accessed online 18 June 2010: http://riserefugee.org/

Image credit: UNHCR/E. Denholm. Last accessed online 18 June 2010: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c2.html