World Refugee Day is a day set aside to celebrate the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. Each June we pause to consider the difficult journey displaced people face and reflect on how we can be a part of what God is doing in their lives.
This year, we need this day more than ever.
Last week UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, announced that the number of people displaced in the world hit another record high in 2022.
“People around the world continue to show extraordinary hospitality for refugees as they extend protection and help to those in need,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “But much more international support and more equitable responsibility sharing is required.”
UNHCR’s new Global Trends Report, shared that 108.4 million people were forcibly displaced in 2022.
Remember, displaced does not mean the same as refugee. People forcibly displaced may be internally displaced in their own countries but without a home. They may be in another country. The UN defines a refugee as “someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.” The vetting process for a refugee to be resettled in a third country is long and rigorous.
There are currently 35.3 million refugees worldwide.
The current administration has set a “ceiling” of 125,000 refugee resettlements in fiscal year 2023. Eight months in, we aren’t close to reaching that number. But trends are improving: More than 6,000 refugees have been resettled in each of the past three months. If this trend continues, the U.S. could resettle about 60,000 refugees — topping 50,000 for the first time since 2017.
The need is larger than we can imagine. Numbers give some perspective, but it is the stories of people that help us truly understand what this day means.
Here are a few of those stories that we hope you will take the time to step into this day:
What can YOU do? Here is some important information from our partners on how you can welcome refugees today: