The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged world leaders to step up their efforts to foster peace, stability, and cooperation in order to halt and begin reversing nearly a decade-long trend of surging displacement driven by violence and persecution.
This comes as countries prepare to mark World Refugee Day on Sunday.
According to the agency’s report, the number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution, and human rights violations in 2020 rose to nearly 82.4 million people.
UNHCR spokesperson Kate Pond says prior the day was marked as Africa Refugee Day.
“World Refugee Day is marked on the 20th of June every year. The first-ever World Refugee Day was held in 2001 and that was to mark the 50th anniversary of the refugee convention, which was signed in 1951, in the aftermath of the second world war. Prior to this, the 20th of June was marked as Africa Refugee Day, which is why we chose the day.”
“The 1951 Refugee Convention and the Global Compact on Refugees provide the legal framework and tools to respond to displacement, but we need much greater political will to address conflicts and persecution that force people to flee in the first place.”
— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) June 18, 2021