World Refugee Day Raises Awareness of the Right on Protection

People ♦ Published: June 20, 2022; 14:33 ♦ (Vindobona)

Every year on 20 June, World Refugee Day takes place to draw attention to flight and displacement. This year, the focus is on the staggering number of over 100 million displaced people worldwide - the highest number ever recorded according to UNHCR. In addition to famine and natural disasters, the war in Ukraine is primarily responsible for this high number this year, as many people have had to leave their homes to escape the violence.

The number of refugees is increasing every year. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Irish Defence Forces [CC BY 2.0 (]

Every year, World Refugee Day is celebrated internationally on 20 June. The main aim of this day is to inform people that there are millions of people who are forced to leave their homes, be it due to war, hunger or environmental disasters. For this purpose, the United Nations Refugee Agency publishes the annual "Global Trends" report, which summarises the dramatic situation worldwide in sober figures.

At the same time, UNHCR pays tribute to the strength, courage and resilience that refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless people muster every day.

Alarming figures

More than 100 million people are currently displaced - the largest number of displaced people ever recorded. In absolute terms, this means that the number of people fleeing has doubled in the last decade.The number of displaced women, men and children rose by 7.7 million to almost 90 million from the end of 2020 to the end of 2021, according to the UNHCR's latest Global Trends report.

In addition, 8 million people have been displaced since Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine since the beginning of this year - 5.5 million of whom have fled Ukraine.

According to UNHCR, the increase over the past year can be attributed in particular to new or ongoing conflicts in countries such as Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The number of refugees fleeing from Africa to Europe could increase dramatically due to the war in Ukraine, where food shortages may occur due to a lack of wheat supplies. Inflation and the climate crisis exacerbate the situation.Behind these inconceivable numbers are millions of individual fates and terrible stories: Among the displaced are millions of children - tens of thousands of them unaccompanied.

United Nations World Food Programme warns of food crisis

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warns of further cuts in food rations for refugees as the need for humanitarian aid increases worldwide while funding cannot keep pace.

Ration cuts of up to 50 per cent affect three-quarters of all refugees assisted by WFP in East Africa. Refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda are the hardest hit.

In West Africa, where famine has reached its highest level in a decade, WFP has had to significantly cut rations for refugees in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. The WFP supports an average of 500,000 refugees annually in southern Africa. Despite generous donor support, funding is insufficient to meet the basic needs of refugee households and disruptions are expected soon in Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Statement by UN Secretary-General

Antonio Guterres on World Refugee Day recalls the "courage and resilience of people fleeing war, violence and persecution." He draws attention to the record number of people fleeing, and sees the war in Ukraine, among other things, as a big driver of the refugee crisis, as it has triggered the "largest and fastest displacement in Europe since the Second World War."

People fleeing violence or persecution must be able to cross borders safely. They must not be discriminated against at borders and unjustly denied refugee status or asylum based on their race, religion, gender or country of origin. They must not be forced to return if their lives or freedom are in danger. And like any human being, they should be treated with respect." Guterres is quoted on the UN website.

UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

WFP World Food Programme

UN United Nations