World Refugee Day 2019
Every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror. According to the United Nations Refugee Convention, refugees flee their homes and country owing to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”. Many refugees are in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters. Usually they have very little or nothing of their possessions and are in need of food. Refugees have had to leave their homes with nothing or with only what they could carry. They suffer cold, hunger, trauma, violence and loss. Vulnerable and in need, they are often misunderstood and maligned. They are people just like us who are running for their lives, their families, their dignity and their freedom. They have had to leave all they had with nothing but their hope, their courage and their determination.
God of exile and God of home, protect all whose lives have been de-stabilized by war, fear, want or persecution. Hear our prayers and guide our actions, so our work for justice and peace will bring stability and hope to the lives of our brothers and sisters, refugees.
Go to www.theIRC.org and click on How You Can Help.
An angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him. Who arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: But when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph in Egypt, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel. For they are dead that sought the life of the child.
In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.
I am deeply concerned to see more and more situations where refugees are not receiving the protection they need and to which they are entitled. We need to re-establish the integrity of the international refugee protection regime. In today’s world, no community or country providing safe refuge to people fleeing war or persecution should be alone and unsupported. We stand together, or we fail.
Most of the world’s refugees – 86 per cent — live in the developing world, compared to 70 per cent 10 years ago. 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.
It affects and involves us all, and what it needs is understanding, compassion and political will to come together and find real answers for the refugee plight. This has become a defining challenge of our times.
I urge you to celebrate the extraordinary courage and contributions of refugees past and present.
You know, those of us who leave our homes in the morning and expect to find them there when we go back – it’s hard for us to understand what the experience of a refugee might be like.
Naomi Shihab Nye
We have a legal and moral obligation to protect people fleeing bombs, bullets and tyrants, and throughout history those people have enriched our society.
In countries where people have to flee their homes because of persecution and violence, political solutions must be found, peace and tolerance restored, so that refugees can return home. In my experience, going home is the deepest wish of most refugees.
Displaced societies are of value. Their issues are our issues.