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Sunday, 21 June 2015 09:41

World Refugee Day

20 June 2015: The world we live in today has more people displaced by conflict than at any time since the Second World War. According to UNHCR’s recently released annual Global Trends report, last year saw the highest displacement on record. By end 2014, 59.5 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations.

 

During 2014, conflict and persecution forced an average of 42,500 individuals per day to leave their homes and seek protection elsewhere, either within the borders of their own country or as refugees in other countries.

The regional spill-over effects of the Syrian conflict are taking on dramatic proportions. 14 million people are now displaced due to the interlinked crises in Syria and Iraq. In 2014 alone 1.55 million Syrians became refugees. Of those, some 250,000 sought refuge in Iraq, 97% of them in the Kurdistan Region.  The country also hosts more than 40,000 refugees from Iran, Turkey, Palestine and Sudan. 

Since January 2014, 3 million people have been internally displaced in Iraq. This is in addition to the estimated 1 million people internally displaced before. These numbers are appalling and, unfortunately, increasing by the day.

With Syria’s protracted conflict showing no signs of abating, hope amongst Syrian refugees to be able to return home is dwindling, they are exhausting their resources, struggle to find employment and face difficulties with the high cost of living in the region.

The number of people requiring lifesaving assistance in Iraq has quadrupled in just 12 months. It is estimated that 8.2 million people need help now. Half of all displaced families are without proper shelter and other basic needs, forced to live in abandoned buildings and makeshift structures. 

“The commemoration of World Refugee Day on June 20th reminds us of the millions of people who were forced out of their homes, their families ripped apart and forced to flee in search for safety and protection. It is a day to honour those who in the face of adversity continue to show the hard will to survive and rebuild their lives”, said the new UNHCR Representative in Iraq, Mr. Bruno Geddo. 

“Today, we  should try to step into the shoes of a refugee or an internally displaced person - if only for a moment – and reflect on how our life would  change if we were forced to flee our home, without access to shelter, documentation, food, education, health and without a job to support our family. Everyone can become a refugee, everyone can fall victim of persecution and be forced to leave one’s home.  Working together to alleviate the suffering of refugees and displaced populations in Iraq is a moral imperative”, added Mr. Geddo.  

Because even one refugee or one displaced person without hope is far too many.

 

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNHCR

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