Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Today is World Refugee Day

The UN Refugee Agency says people who flee persecution are forced to leave behind their most precious relationships and belongings. But, the UNHCR says the one thing all refugees carry with them is the hope that they can return home one day. The UNHCR has chosen the theme of hope to mark this year's World Refugee Day.

World Refugee Day is a day of celebration for millions of refugees who have had their hopes fulfilled. The UN refugee agency reports over the past four years, an estimated six million refugees have gone home. This brings the number of refugees worldwide to 8.4 million, its lowest level in 26 years.

But, along with the good news, comes the bad. As more refugees are returning home, the UNHCR reports increasing numbers of people are becoming refugees within their own countries. It says civil wars have caused up to 25 million people to become internally displaced (IDP).

In London, UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin was due later Tuesday to formally launch a year-long global campaign called ninemillion.org, which aims to deliver education and sports programmes to nine million refugee children around the world through awareness- and fund-raising.


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