Refugees, Displaced People Must Be Central to COVID-19 Policy Response, Recovery Efforts, Secretary-General Says in Observance Message

SG/SM/20130
18 June 2020

Refugees, Displaced People Must Be Central to COVID-19 Policy Response, Recovery Efforts, Secretary-General Says in Observance Message

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World Refugee Day, observed on 20 June:

Nearly 80 million women, children and men around the world have been forced from their homes as refugees or internally displaced people.  Even more shocking:  10 million of these people fled in the past year alone.

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.

We must all work to re-establish the integrity of the international refugee protection regime, and to implement the pledges made at the Global Refugee Forum, 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.  My recent Policy Brief on COVID-19 and People on the Move called on Governments to ensure that they are included in all response and recovery efforts.

Refugees and displaced people are also prominent among those who are stepping up to make a difference on the frontlines 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.  Today and every day, we stand in unity and solidarity with refugees and recognize our fundamental obligation to shelter those fleeing war and persecution.

For information media. Not an official record.