The Worker

UNHCR – World Refugee Day on June 20

FIR as “Ambassador of Peace” of the United Nations remembers the World Refugee Day.
World Refugee Day was held globally for the first time on 20 June 2001, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. It was originally known as Africa Refugee Day, before the United Nations General Assembly officially designated it as an international day in December 2000. Each year on 20 June, the world celebrates World Refugee Day, the international day to honor people who have been forced to flee.
This year 2023, World Refugee Day focuses on the power of inclusion and solutions for refugees. Motto: Hope away from Home. A world where refugees are always included.
Including refugees in the communities where they have found safety after fleeing conflict and persecution is the most effective way to support them in restarting their lives and enable them to contribute to the countries hosting them.
As of year-end 2022, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide is approximately 108.4 million, according to UNHCR. The figure includes refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons and other people in need of protection. Compared to the end of 2021, 18 million more people are currently displaced than the previous year. Forcibly displaced people included 35.3 million people including 26.7 million refugees under UNHCR mandate and 5.8 million Palestine refugees under UNRWA mandate, 62.5 million internally displaced people (most in African war zones), 4.9 million asylum seekers, and 5.3 million other people in need of protection.
The FIR thanks all states, transnational and civil society aid organizations that make a positive contribution when helping these people fleeing to escape persecution and find a dignified reception in safe countries. In the spirit of the UNHCR motto, help to integrate these people into society.

Unfortunately, we have had to experience for many years that such assistance is no longer provided in many European countries. The lack of “solidarity” between the member states of the European Union is also reflected in the fact that the initial reception states Italy, Greece or Spain are left alone with the great challenges, that even with deportations, push-backs and other coercive measures regulated asylum procedures are suspended. Quasi as a negative contribution to the World Refugee Day, the interior ministers of the European Union have decided a few days ago with the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) a comprehensive disenfranchisement of people who are in an acute emergency. From now on, “border procedures” are foreseen, in which initially no asylum application is examined, but only whether such an application may be filed at all. The latter can in principle be refused if a refugee has entered via a so-called safe third country. The criteria for which countries can be considered safe third countries have been softened. This means that war refugees can be deported to Turkey, for example, at any time. Deportation to a faraway country, such as Rwanda, is also possible. In the future, legal assistance will be available only to a limited extent – if at all – and legal recourse will also be reduced; the means to this end is the fiction that border procedures will be carried out before entry, i.e. beyond the territory of the state organizing the procedure. Refugees can be prevented from continuing their journey for the duration of the border procedure, i.e. de facto interned in camps.
Human rights and refugee organizations have protested against these decisions in various European countries, including more than 50 social welfare and other associations in Germany alone. They see in the decisions of the European interior ministers a “trend of devaluation of European basic and human rights”, which shakes “at the foundations of the constitutional state”. About 700 lawyers warned in an open letter: If the Federal Republic supports the EU project, then it makes “the exclusion of refugees in Germany and their detention and deportation to its brand core”.
At the same time the parties of the extreme right in many European states agitate against an alleged “refugee wave” and violence against refugees and their accommodations increase recognizably. The FIR reaffirms in this context its statement: We stand up for a Europe that rejects nationalism and separatism, racism and xenophobia, fights forced migration and stands up for refugees and minorities.

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