Every year, on June 20, the world celebrates World Refugee Day. This year the focus will be on the right to seek safety: whoever they are, wherever they come from and whenever they are forced to flee, every person has the right to seek their own safety.
World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honor refugees around the world. Honoring refugees means remembering this grave situation every day and taking action to help and welcome them. It is celebrated every year on June 20 to remember the strength and courage of those who have been forced to flee their countries to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an opportunity to create recognition and understanding for their plight and push for their recovery.
With the number of forcibly displaced people in the world exceeding 100 million, the theme of this year's event-the right to seek safety-is more critical than ever.
This year's manifesto is very clear and straight to the point:
- Whoever they are, people forced to flee must be treated with dignity. Anyone can seek protection, regardless of who they are or what they believe. This is non-negotiable: seeking safety is a human right.
- Wherever they come from, people forced to flee should be welcomed. Refugees come from all over the world. To escape danger, they may take a plane, a boat or travel on foot. What remains universal is the right to seek safety.
- When people are forced to flee, they have the right to be protected. Whatever the threat - war, violence, persecution - everyone deserves protection. Everyone has the right to be safe.
We should always treasure these three important statements. There areno A or B refugees as some of our politicians like to make people think.
People cannot be forced to return to a country if their life or freedom is at risk. This means that countries should not turn anyone away without first assessing the dangers they face in their country. People should not be discriminated against at borders. All applications for refugee status should be considered equally, regardless of factors such as race, religion, gender and country of origin.
People forced to flee must be treated with respect and dignity. They are entitled to safe and dignified treatment like any other human being. This means, among other things, keeping families together, protecting people from traffickers, and avoiding arbitrary detention.
Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime.
Everyone has the right to seek safety.