“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results” – Herman Melville
Every year, June 20th is recognized by the UN as World Refugee Day – a day to commemorate and acknowledge the strength and the courage of refugees around the globe. The UNHCR reported that “an unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from their home. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18”. These shocking statistics result in a need for the international community to come together to offer encouragement, support and solidarity with those that have had to face the stark reality of leaving everything behind.
With 2015 breaking the record for forced migration – exceeding 60 million for the first time – there is now a responsibility for the public and governments alike to take action.
Understanding the importance of mutual respect and cooperation, this year the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has launched its #WithRefugees petition to present at UN Headquarters in New York on September 19. The #WithRefugees petition implores governments to act on the grave circumstances of refugees around the world asking for three main commitments:
- Ensure every refugee child gets an education
- Ensure every refugee family has somewhere safe to live
- Ensure every refugee can work or learn new skills to make a positive contribution to their community
To move toward reaching any of these commitments, governments must also ensure they are dedicated to an integration process which allows refugees to engage and connect within their new communities.
In some instances, after overcoming the various barriers and obstacles faced by having to flee their homes, many refugees are then faced with feelings of isolation and alienation in their host countries. As such, governments and communities need to engage in initiatives and action plans that build social connections which allow people to thrive – ensuring the safety and security of all people.
Add your name to the #WithRefugees petition to send a clear message to governments that they must act with solidarity and shared responsibility.
We stand together #WithRefugees.
Please stand with us.