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Conflicts displace 68.5m — UNHCR

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) on Wednesday announced that about 68.5million persons were currently displaced by conflicts around the world.

The UNHCR’s Representative in Nigeria, Mr Antonio Canhandula, made the disclosure in Lagos at an event to mark this Year’s World Refugee Day.

The theme of this year’s celebration is: “We Stand # With Refugees’’.

Canhandula, who was represented by the Acting Head of UNHCR, Lagos Office, Mr Babawale Owolabi, enjoined countries to close ranks in supporting the uprooted families.

“As conflicts emerge, recur, persist and deepen, 68.5million people are uprooted around the world.

“Nine out of ten are in their own countries or countries next door, and the impact is massive on refugees themselves, as well as on the communities that open their doors to them.

“Now, more than ever, taking care of refugees must be a global and a shared responsibility. It is time to do things differently.

“Countries and communities need more systematic, long-term support as they take on the job of helping uprooted families,’’ he said.

The UNHCR representative also said that refugees should be included in new communities and given the chance to realise their potential.

Mrs Margaret Ukegbu, the Zonal Director of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCRMI), said that the Day was set aside for those who fled their countries.

“The World Refugee Day is a Day set aside to pay tribute to the brave men and women who fled from their various countries due to no fault of theirs.

“They have fled due to conflict, war, assault and other forms of discomfiture that have threatened their lives and abode,’’ she said.

Ukegbu expressed appreciation to the Nigerian governments through the commission, for their commitment to ensuring that Persons of Concern were adequately catered for with durable solutions.

The celebration, which brought together refugees from Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State and Lagos State, afforded the refugees opportunities to exhibit products they produced, as well as the display of their cultural songs
and attires.

The event was jointly organised by the UN agency and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.

The United Nations’ (UN) World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 each year.

This event honours the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.

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