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Solidarity #WithRefugees – Celebrating World Refugee Day 2024

20 June 2024 marks the 13th year of celebrating World Refugee Day.

Each year, the world celebrates World Refugee Day on 20 June, the international day to honour people who have been forced to flee.

World Refugee Day was held globally for the first time on 20 June 2001 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

As we celebrate World Refugee Day to honour refugees around the globe for their sense of hope, resilience, courage, and strength, it is also a day to reflect on the challenge facing the global community as the number of refugees and displaced people continues to grow at an alarming rate.

UNHCR, the UN Agency for Refugees, estimates that more than 120 million people around the world are forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, violence and human rights violations among others. This constitutes 1.5% of the world’s population.

29.4 million refugees are under the mandate of UNHCR, the UN’S Refugee Agency - and this number is rapidly increasing. 

UNHCR’s Projected Global Resettlement Needs 2025 report identifies 2.9 million refugees who need resettlement next year, half a million more refugees than were identified by UNHCR as needing resettlement a year ago.


A world where refugees are welcomed

This year's World Refugee Day theme is Solidarity #WithRefugees. Refugees and displaced people need our solidarity now more than ever. Solidarity means keeping our doors open, celebrating their strengths and achievements, and reflecting on the challenges they face. 

Solidarity with people forced to flee also means finding solutions to the daily challenges they face, both in hosting countries as well as resettlement countries, such as Aotearoa New Zealand. We must ensure that former refugees have opportunities to thrive in the communities that have welcomed them. 

There is a real risk that with growing conflicts and increasing refugee numbers, we forget to see the individuals behind these numbers - people who are educated, motivated, resilient and resourceful to finding ways of coping with prolonged periods of instability.

Together, we can stand in solidarity with refugees by showing compassion in action so former refugees can live with humanity, hope and dignity in Aotearoa New Zealand and be able to have rangatiratanga self-agency over their lives and dreams.

Through his personal experiences as a former refugee, HOST staff member Juan Isaza strongly believes in the importance of solidarity:

“By supporting others, we also support ourselves. Through kindness to others, we will transcend in their hearts. Solidarity is a precious gift that we should all give to our peers to make a better world. Collaboration brings unity and builds communities. You can help shape this future through your solidarity.” 


Show your solidarity

Every individual refugee that is offered the opportunity of resettlement, will in turn create the opportunities for their families and future generations to live in safety, too.

At this morning’s Parliamentary World Refugee Day celebration, co-hosted by the Hon Casey Costello, Associate Minister of Immigration, and New Zealand Red Cross, former refugee Camila Blair shared her thoughts on solidarity:

“Solidarity [is about] having an understanding and hearing stories of refugees and acknowledging the resilience of our people to have to leave their country and leave everything behind. It is a way where we can honour all that refugees have gone through to keep themselves and their whānau safe. Solidarity is also about our responsibilities to support each other as a collective in times of need.”

Through her personal experiences as a refugee, Camila has learnt how she can support refugees as they arrive in the country so that they can feel a sense of belonging in Aotearoa New Zealand and not feel alone. She explained: "I found it was hard to find ways to support people, because I was going through my own resettlement process in Aotearoa New Zealand. But then I did find a group of people who were interested in the same things as I was and so they gave me the tools to help newly arriving refugees as they arrived in the country.”

You can play your part, too - on World Refugee Day today and every other day - to show your solidarity. Get to know your former refugee neighbours, reach out to refugee background colleagues and provide equal opportunities for social, community and workplace participation.

During this morning's event, Marsheed Major, another speaker of refugee background, urged everyone for “[...] support to be given with compassion as well as having a deep understanding of the refugee’s experiences and what this means for different sectors who support refugees.”

She continued:

“Look at refugees through a strengths-based lens and look at what they have achieved to empower them. It is crucial […] to find out what the refugee’s strengths are and therefore how they can contribute to NZ society. If the focus is on trying to make a refugee’s settlement process easier, then this will benefit the refugee greatly and create solidarity.” 


Sign up now for the Global Solidarity Run for Refugees

Irish solidarity-through-sport movement Sanctuary Runners launched its ambitious new project Global Solidarity Run for Refugees which aims to get 1 million people around the world running, jogging or walking on the same day to show solidarity with people living in forced displacement across the world.

HOST had the privilege of participating in the launch of the Global Solidarity Run for Refugees at the Consultations on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways in Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this month.

The Global Solidarity Run for Refugees will take place on Saturday, October 19th.

Show your solidarity by signing up for this year’s Global Solidarity Run for Refugees, held on Saturday 19 October 2024 across the world.

Sign up now!

We are a small country but we can play a part and make a difference in refugees and former refugees’ lives - every day!


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