World Refugee Day: Recession Creates Greater Need for Humanitarian Aid for Refugees
June 19, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
This year to commemorate World Refugee Day, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is urging wealthy nations to contribute more resources to organizations that help refugees around the world, who are facing challenges in their work because of the current global recession.
"The overwhelming burden of displacement is borne by developing countries," said António Guterres, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. "Eighty percent of refugees are in the developing world. Generosity and wealth are not proportional to each other."
A refugee is a person seeking protection in a foreign country out of fear of political persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion. According to UNHCR, there are more than 16 million refugees and asylum seekers worldwide, many of whom are women and children.
UNHCR works to protect refugee rights, resolve refugee problems worldwide, and ensure that everyone can seek asylum and find safe refuge in another country. In 2000, UNHCR established June 20 as World Refugee Day, to raise awareness about the plight of refugees and salute their determination and courage. The date was selected to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, an international U.N. treaty that defined who is a refugee and what their rights are.