Since 2001, the United Nations and more than 100 countries have observed World Refugee Day annually on June 20th. World Refugee Day honours the determination and courage of those who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, persecution, civil unrest, and/or war.
This year, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR,) asked people from all walks of life to join together to participate in the #StepWithRefugees global challenge. Millions of people around the world walked, hiked, and ran in solidarity to acknowledge the refugees who each year trek over 1 billion miles to reach the nearest point of safety.
International days are celebrations dedicated to educating the public on issues of concern. Additionally, these days are designed to mobilise political will and resources to address global difficulties and to celebrate and reinforce the achievements of humanity.
What is a Refugee?
In response to World War II, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was formed in 1950 to help 40 million refugees across Europe. To officially be considered a refugee, a person must have “suffered persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, because they are part of a persecuted social group, or because they’re fleeing war.”
Those individuals who claim to be refugees, but whose cases haven’t been thoroughly evaluated are defined as “asylum seekers.” Similarly, individuals who have fled their homes, but remained within their borders of their own country are officially referred to as “internally displaced persons” (IDPs). As of 2018, there were an estimated 41.3 million internationally displaced persons, 25.9 million refugees, and 3.5 million asylum-seekers throughout the world.
World Refugee Quick Facts
The world is currently witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. Here is a snapshot of the important global refugee facts and statistics.
– According to the UNHCR, as of 2018, more than 70.8 million around the world were forcibly displaced from their homes.
– On average, more than 37,000 million men, women, and children per day flee their homes to seek protection beyond the borders of their home country.
– Through the course of the last year, more than 13.9 million people became newly displaced.
– 57% of UNHCR refugees came from three countries, to include Syria, Afghanistan, and South Sudan.
– 51% of world refugees are under the age of 18. Many of these children spend their entire life away from home. These children are far more vulnerable to suffer from neglect, abuse, and other forms of violence.
– The first-ever Refugee Team competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The team was composed of athletes from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Syria, and The Democratic Republic of Congo.
Woolenstocks Stands with Refugees
From big steps to small steps, people from around the world walked in solidarity with refugees to send a message of action, solidarity, and responsibility on behalf of refugees to governments around the world. At Woolenstocks, we stand with the UN to help refugees around the world find homes. We recognize we would not be where we are as a company without the talent, commitment, and dedicated passion of our team members. We are proud to work with artisans in remote areas of the Himalayas, to help families grow food and find long-term solutions to poverty.
This month, in particular, we would like to take a moment to recognize all of the female artisans who allow us to share their talent and craft with the world. Thank you for your hard work, time, talent, dedication, and love that goes into every order we fulfill. Together we strive to make the world a better place. Together, we can work to end the refugee crisis and find homes for displaced peoples around the world.