Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World Refugee Day, observed on 20 June:
What would you do if you were forced to leave your home?
Today, more than 68 million people around the world are refugees or internally displaced as a result of conflict or persecution. That is equivalent to the population of the world’s twentieth largest country.
Last year, someone was displaced every two seconds. Mostly, in poorer countries.
On World Refugee Day, we must all think about what more we can we do to help. The answer begins with unity and solidarity.
I am deeply concerned to see more and more situations where refugees are not receiving the protection they need and to which they are entitled. We need to re-establish the integrity of the international refugee protection regime.
In today’s world, no community or country providing safe refuge to people fleeing war or persecution should be alone and unsupported. We stand together, or we fail.
This year, a global compact on refugees will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly. It offers a way forward and recognizes the contributions that refugees make to the societies hosting them.
As long as there are wars and persecution, there will be refugees. On World Refugee Day, I ask you to remember them. Their story is one of resilience, perseverance and courage. Ours must be of solidarity, compassion and action.