World Refugee Day 2007

Every year on June 20 the world honours the courage, resilience and strength of refugees.

On this sixth anniversary of the United Nations-designated World Refugee Day, thousands of organisations in hundreds of countries will come together to focus global attention not only on the plight of refugees and the causes of their exile, but also on their determination and will to survive and on the contributions they make to their host communities.

Often classified unfairly with economic migrants, refugees flee their country not for economic gain but to escape persecution, the threat of imprisonment and even threats to their lives. They need a safe haven where they can recover from mental and physical trauma and rebuild their hopes for a better future.

The intolerance that is often at the root of internal displacement and refugee flows is also present in some of the countries that refugees flee to. Instead of finding empathy and understanding, they are often met with mistrust or scorn.

On World Refugee Day, let’s not forget that some day in the future any one of us could be knocking at a stranger’s door hoping to find a safe and friendly shelter. We should extend refugees the same kind of welcome we would like to receive if we were in their position.

While most refugees want to go home, some cannot safely return. But wherever they are, refugees will always strive to pick up the pieces and start over. The courage and determination demonstrated during their darkest hours will serve them well in rebuilding a new life. On World Refugee Day, let us honour them for these qualities and recognise the richness and diversity they bring to our societies.

Links to UN and UN System sites:

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

World Refugee Day

Protecting Refugees

1951 Geneva Convention

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Inter-Agency Internal Displacement Division

Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict


Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons

UN Joint Logistics Centre

World Food Programme

UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Sudan Information Gateway – UN System in Sudan

Global issues on the UN Agenda: Refugees

Humanitarian Aid, Refugees (UN News Centre)

UN Works in Emergencies

Refugees (UN CyberSchoolBus)

Additional resources:

The additional resources links on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not necessarily represent an endorsement by the United Nations.

Amnesty International

Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement

European Council on Refugees and Exiles

Forced Migration Online

InterAction – Migration & Refugees

Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre

International Committee of the Red Cross

International Organization for Migration

International Rescue Committee

Protecting Refugees (Human Rights Watch)

Refugees International

Refugee Studies Centre (University of Oxford)


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