20 June is World Refugee Day. #WithRefugees

L’obiettivo della giornata è di sensibilizzare l’opinione pubblica sui diritti dei migranti, persone in fuga dalla guerra e dalla povertà che necessitano di protezione e di sicurezza.

A refugee is someone who seeks refuge, shelter, a person who flees war, political oppression, religious persecution, or natural disaster. Refugees’ only choice is to find a safe place in order to leave behind the terrible events they escape from, even if it implies leaving their family and home to face the unknown.

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Syrian refugees arrive on the shore of the Greek island of Lesbos © Angelos Tzortzinis / Getty

“Refugee” are often called “illegal immigrants”. This could seem just like a semantic detail, but it probably symbolises a mechanism aimed at diminishing refugees’ humanity, and to hinder people’s natural empathy towards another human being in a situation of difficulty.

World Refugee Day is celebrated worldwide on 20 June, and was established by the United Nations in 2000. The first day has been celebrated in 2001, in occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

“Most of the world’s refugees – 86 per cent – live in the developing world. Most of these countries have kept their doors open to people in search of safety, and have shown a generosity that is often well beyond their means. I appeal to all Member States and our partners in civil society to do their utmost to support the nations and communities that have welcomed the forcibly displaced into their midst,” said UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon.

Barcone carico di migranti
Every day hundreds of people are forced to abandon their countries because of wars

One of the current challenges faced by the international community is preventing populations’ forced exodus, trying to stop conflicts that are decimating civilians, such as in the Middle East and Africa, and that are the main cause of the increase in refugees in the world. Or, at least, discontinue economic relations with countries who violate human rights, aggravating existing dynamics.

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UNHCR refugee camp © Bülent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

In 2016, the UNHCR, the United Nations’ Refugee Agency has launched the global campaign #WithRefugees, created to show world leaders that public opinion around the world is on the side of refugees. The campaign includes a petition designed to send a clear message to governments to encourage them to act in solidarity and share in their responsibility. The petition calls on them to ensure that every child refugee is educated, that every refugee family has a safe place to live and that every refugee can work or acquire the skills to contribute positively to society.

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