World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day Quick Facts - ZA

HashtagsCompiled on#WorldRefugeeDay, #WorldRefugeeDay2022
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2023 Date20 June 2023
2024 Date20 June 2024
World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day is an international observance dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of refugees worldwide. This day is an opportunity to acknowledge the strength, courage, and resilience of these individuals who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, persecution, and violence. The observance seeks to draw attention to the ongoing challenges faced by refugees and promote understanding, empathy, and action among the global community to alleviate their hardship.

South Africa, a country that has long been experiencing an influx of refugees from various African nations, holds a unique significance in the observance. With its historical struggles against apartheid and inequality, South Africa has become an emblem of freedom and human rights, rendering its citizens more sensitive to the struggles of fellow displaced Africans. South Africans have a moral responsibility to raise awareness, foster inclusive communities, and collectively work towards seeking solutions for the refugee crisis affecting the continent.

In South Africa, the observance of World Refugee Day typically includes awareness campaigns, community engagement activities, cultural programs, and relevant film screenings that highlight the refugee situation. Collaboration between non-profit organizations, government authorities, and citizens help facilitate the organization of such events, fostering solidarity, compassion, and understanding on this day. As the country joins the rest of the world in marking World Refugee Day on June 20, it is an opportunity for the people of South Africa to reflect on their collective responsibility in aiding and protecting their displaced brothers and sisters.

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World Refugee Day facts

  • The theme for World Refugee Day in 2022 was Whoever. Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to safety.
  • According to the UN Refugee Agency, by the end of 2021, 89 million people were displaced due to war, violence, persecution, and human rights abuse.
  • South Africa has a rich history of accepting refugees, starting with European World War II refugees and continuing to people fleeing from ethnic strife and conflicts in Africa.
  • Due to apartheid-era policies, South Africa was fenced off from the rest of the continent until its transition to democracy in 1994.

Top things to do in South Africa 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 South Africa. Here are our top picks:
    1. Ubuntu's Wounds (2012) - This short documentary examines the violence against foreign migrants and refugees living in the townships of South Africa, specifically in the wake of the 2008 xenophobic attacks.
    2. Children from a Misty Land (2011) - This documentary focuses on Burundi refugees living in a village outside of Johannesburg, exploring their struggles in a new land.
    3. No Way Home (2015) - This SABC3 television documentary shines a light on the daily struggles of refugees and foreigners living in South Africa, focusing on the aftermath of the 2015 xenophobic attacks in Durban.
  • Read a book to learn more about refugees in South Africa. Here are our recommendations:
    1. Migration and Refugees: Challenges for South Africa in a Continental and Global Perspective by Francis A. Kornegay
    2. Xenophobia in South Africa: A History of Forced Migration and Statelessness by Ralph Moorhouse
    3. Go Home or Die Here: Violence, Xenophobia and the Reinvention of Difference in South Africa by Shireen Hassim, Tawana Kupe, and Eric Worby

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