UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged support for refugees and their host communities on the occasion of World Refugee Day.
Nearly 80 million women, children and men around the world have been forced from their homes as refugees or internally displaced people. Ten million of these people fled in the past year alone, said Guterres in a message for World Refugee Day, which falls on June 20, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.
“On World Refugee Day, we pledge to do everything in our power to end the conflict and persecution that drive these appalling numbers. Today, we also recognize the generosity and humanity of host communities and countries that often struggle with their own economic and security concerns. We owe these countries our thanks, our support and our investment,” he said.
Guterres asked the international community to work to re-establish the integrity of the international refugee protection regime so that refugees and host communities receive the support they need.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic poses an additional threat to refugees and displaced people, who are among the most vulnerable, he noted, adding that refugees and displaced people are also prominent among those who are stepping up to make a difference on the front lines of the response.
“From camps in Bangladesh to hospitals in Europe, refugees are working as nurses, doctors, scientists, teachers and in other essential roles, protecting themselves and giving back to the communities that host them. On World Refugee Day, we thank refugees for their resourcefulness and determination to rebuild their own lives, and to improve the lives of those around them,” he said.
Guterres asked countries to stand in unity and solidarity with refugees and recognize their fundamental obligation to shelter those fleeing war and persecution.