The stories we are publishing today in observance of World Refugee Day are powerful examples of individuals who have overcome obstacles thrust upon them through no fault of their own. They arrived in their places of refuge or resettlement unsure and often alone, and have thrived as writers, musicians, social workers, advocates, and more. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, sons, friends—and neighbors.
On World Refugee Day 2017, the world faces massive humanitarian crises in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and beyond. More than 65 million men, women, and children are displaced today – the largest number since World War II.These historic and multiple refugee crises come at a time when countries are retreating from long-standing humanitarian commitments, closing their doors to millions seeking refuge.
The only response to World Refugee Day 2017 is urgent action, as we face proposed Trump administration funding cuts of 32 percent to the international affairs budget. Such drastic slashes to humanitarian and development assistance as well as peacekeeping and international organizations at this time of unprecedented global need is incomprehensible. Should these cuts be implemented, the impacts on the most vulnerable populations will be devastating and, unfortunately, deadly.
World Refugee Day: a day to “recognize the lives of refugees and those who are dedicated to helping them.” So many of the people dedicated to helping refugees (and IDPs, asylum-seekers, and the stateless, all of whom are included in the purview of World Refugee Day) are refugees themselves. We normally think of international aid workers as the ones helping the displaced, but in places where access is difficult or dangerous, it’s often a case of refugees helping their own communities.