"Refugees are people like anyone else, like you and me. They led ordinary lives before becoming displaced, and their biggest dream is to be able to live normally again. On this World Refugee Day, let us recall our common humanity, celebrate tolerance and diversity and open our hearts to refugees everywhere."
Asylum-seekers and economic migrants take to the seas, waiting out the dangerous journey in the boat's cramped cargo space. Photo: UNHCR/A. D'Amato
For years, many countries and regions have been holding their own Refugee Days and even Weeks. One of the most widespread is Africa Refugee Day, which is celebrated on 20 June in several countries.
The UN General Assembly, on 4 December 2000, adopted resolution 55/76 where it noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June.
The General Assembly therefore decided that 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day.