Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees today, 20 June 2017, World Refugee Day, issued a statement to “honour the resilience and courage” of more than 65 million people who have been forced to flee war, persecution and violence.
The UN High Commissioner also recognised the communities and people who receive refugees and the internally displaced in their midst, offering them a safe place, and welcoming them in their schools, their workplaces and their societies.
“Today we live in a world in which uncertainty often abounds; economic instability, political upheaval and violence close to home can make us want to shut our eyes or close our doors. But fear and exclusion will not lead us to a better place – they can only lead to barriers, alienation and despair,” he stated and called on us all “to change this trajectory. And for the better.”
Calling for inclusion, whichhe said “requires an opening of minds, hearts and communities to refugees. Grandi said it requires a whole of society approach –students, business leaders, athletes, activists, religious leaders, politicians and artists – to the shared responsibility of welcoming refugees,” he highlighted the courage, tenacity and brilliance of refugees every single day to rebuild their lives and create new opportunities, as witnessed by the UNHCR.
“Given the right environment, our experience is that refugees bring solutions, not problems,” he added. And, called on us all to stand together #WithRefugees – recognising that when people work together, everyone wins.
He concluded by asking us all to pause to contemplate on World Refugee Day, over the fate of the millions of people who cannot return to their homes tonight because of war or persecution. “It’s also a moment to ask ourselves what each of us can do to overcome indifference or fear and embrace the idea of inclusion, to welcome refugees to our own communities, and to counter narratives that would seek to exclude and marginalize refugees and other uprooted people,” he added.