World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day Quick Facts - AU

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2024 Date20 June 2024
2025 Date20 June 2025

World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day in

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World Refugee Day History

World Refugee Day is a global event that raises awareness about the plight of refugees while honouring their strength, courage, and resilience. This special observance sheds light on the crucial need to provide safety and assistance to people who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, persecution, and violence. Coloured by heartrending stories of survival and hope, World Refugee Day stands as a reminder that all people deserve a life of dignity and security, irrespective of their nationality or origin.

The concept of World Refugee Day was adopted on December 4, 2000, by the United Nations General Assembly, following a recommendation from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. With an increasingly multicultural society, Australia has a particular responsibility to engage with the pressing issue of global displacement. In recent years, Australia has welcomed thousands of refugees from various countries, embracing its international obligations and building vibrant, diverse communities. As neighbours to one of the most densely packed refugee zones in the world – the Asia-Pacific region – Australians are called to be understanding and compassionate towards the vulnerable individuals who seek refuge within their borders.

In Australia, World Refugee Day is observed through a variety of events and activities, such as cultural performances, film screenings, educational workshops, and fundraising campaigns. These occasions create opportunities for Australians to learn about refugee experiences, recognise the valuable contributions of refugees to their society, and express solidarity with displaced populations worldwide. World Refugee Day is observed globally on June 20, enriching the nation's social fabric and fostering a greater understanding of this critical humanitarian issue.

World Refugee Day facts

  • The theme for World Refugee Day in 2023 was hope away from home.
    The theme in 2022 was Everyone Has the Right to Seek Safety.
  • 86% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries.
  • Over the past 70 years, more than 900,000 refugees and displaced people have been resettled in Australia.
  • Refugees come to Australia from diverse backgrounds, with the top three countries of origin being Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria in recent years.

Top things to do in Australia for World Refugee Day

  • Share the hashtags #WorldRefugeeDay and #RefugeeStrong on social media to spread awareness.
  • Donate or volunteer for the UN Refugee Agency. All proceeds and time go toward helping resettle current and future refugees so that they have safe and healthy lives.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about refugees in Australia. Here are some suggestions:
    1. Hope Road (2017) - This documentary follows the journey of Zacharia Machiek, a Sudanese refugee in Australia, who tries to build a school in his South Sudan village.
    2. The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe (2016) - This documentary follows four African women refugees living in Sydney, who form a theatre group to share their stories through performance.
    3. Constance on the Edge (2016) - This documentary tells the story of a Congolese refugee and her family adjusting to life in rural Australia.
  • Read a book to learn more about refugees in Australia. Here are some recommendations:
    1. Refugees, Human Rights and Equity in Australia: Stories from Tamil refugees seeking asylum by Chris White
    2. From Nothing to Zero: Letters from Refugees in Australia's Detention Centres by Janet Austin
    3. The Boat People: Australia's Experiment in Incarceration and Human Rights by Professor David Tait and Dr Jane Mullett

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