World Refugee Day

Each year on 20th June, the United Nations commemorates World Refugee Day to celebrate refugees all throughout the world. It honours the bravery and strength of those who have been directly/indirectly forced to abandon their homeland due to conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an opportunity to foster empathy and compassion for refugees’ suffering, as well as to honour their courage in reconstructing their lives. People forced to flee their nation due to conflict, war, or persecution are known as refugees.

The topic has a high probability of being asked as a Current Affairs Question in IAS Prelims and Mains as the refugee management is a hot debate topic in India these years.

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History of World Refugee Day

The date, 20th of June, was set by the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) on 4th of December, 2000, when it passed the resolution. For the first time, World Refugee Day was commemorated on 20th of June, 2001. The 50th anniversary marking the 1951 Refugee Convention, which deals with the worldwide protection of refugees, was commemorated at the event.

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Types of Refugees

As per the United Nations, 20 individuals abandon everything they own every minute to flee war, persecution, or terror. They are among the world’s most vulnerable people. There are numerous categories of people who have been forcibly relocated:

  • Refugees: As per the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who has fled their home and country because of a deep fear of persecution because of his or her ethnicity, religion, nationality, membership in a specific social group, or political opinion. Many refugees have gone into exile to avoid natural or man-made disasters.
  • Asylum Seekers: Asylum seekers claim to be refugees who have fled their homes like refugees do, but their claim for a refugee status in the country to which they fled has yet to be determined.
  • Internally Displaced Persons: They are the people who’ve not travelled beyond an international border but have relocated within their own country to a different region.
  • Stateless Persons: These people lack a recognised nationality and are not citizens of any country. Discrimination towards certain groups is usually the cause of statelessness. Their lack of identity, such as a citizenship certificate, might prevent individuals from accessing vital government services such as health care, education, and work.
  • Returnees: Erstwhile refugees who come back to their home nations or areas after a period of exile are known as returnees. Returnees require ongoing help and reintegration support in order to restore their lives at home.

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Note: IAS exam could ask basic facts about this topic as it holds international as well as domestic importance.

Significance

The day is commemorated all around the world to raise awareness about the situation of refugees and to mobilise political will as well as resources to assist them reconstruct their lives as quickly as possible. In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly declared 20th of June to be World Refugee Day.

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