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World rallies in solidarity with refugees

UNHCR chief visits Nigerian refugees fleeing Boko Haram. Photo: UNHCR

Communities, schools, businesses, faith groups, people from all walks of life are taking steps in solidarity with refugees, as the world marks World Refugee Day; to show ‘team spirit’ with people forced by wars and conflict to leave their countries.

United Nations Human Rights Commission, UNHCR, says 70 million people are displaced from their homes, doubling the number from 20 years ago.

In Nigeria, the Boko Haram insurgency has displaced nearly 2.4 million people in the Lake Chad Basin, the United Nations Refugee Agency

More people continue to be displaced due to armed banditry in many of the northwestern states, where many have fled to neighbouring Niger Republic.

Refugess being helped out of a water by individuals

UNHCR has continued to evacuate refugees as the situation in Tripoli, Libya continues to deteriorate.

Since November 2017, 3,612 refugees and asylum-seekers were evacuated to Niger (2,782 individuals), the Emergency Transit Centre (ETC) in Romania (269 individuals) and Italy (561 individuals).

A Nigerian refugee and her grandson. Photo: UNHCR

UNHCR has called on resettlement countries to make additional places available for refugees and asylum-seekers in Libya.

World Refugee Day is being celebrated in Europe almost four years after one of the biggest migration crises in that region.

Although the number of migrants arriving on Europe’s shores has dropped, the EU says it still struggles to find solutions for those who still come into the country.

The Secretary-General of the Norwegian refugee council, Jan Egeland said “It’s a fundamentally important day, because we should all be aware that there are now more than 70 million refugees and internally displaced people across the world,”

“We haven’t had such numbers since the Second World War, it’s a wake-up call for leaders across the world. International diplomacy is failing these people, there’s no effective conflict resolution, and more importantly, there is no way out from this, for many of the people who flee.”

Europe has struggled to find common ground on migrant policy.

Bollywood/Hollywood celebrity, Priyanka Chopra Jonas shared a ‘heartfelt’ video to mark the Day.

“The truth is quite simple… the future of this world lies in the hands of the children of today. But the harsh reality is that there is an entire generation of innocent children growing up right now without any prospects for their future.. these children are affected by displacement due to serious conflict and emergencies in their various regions. When families are forced to leave their homes due to violence, persecution, natural disasters, they are torn apart and it’s the children that end up suffering the most. The numbers are staggering, yes… but we have to continue to stand for them, in whatever capacity we can as individuals. They are the future and we need to help.

To mark the day, the UN is organising walks worldwide as part of a campaign called #StepWithRej7fugees.

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