Every year, on June 20, we celebrate World Refugee Day. The day commemorates the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees1; this day is dedicated to honor the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home countries.
According to the United Nations, “every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror”2. To provide security to those whose rights have not been secured in their country of origin, all EU Member States and other signatory countries to the 1951 Convention guarantee the right to asylum. This provides refugees with specific rights such as: the right to cross a border to safety, even without documentation, the right to freedom of movement within the territory; the right not to be expelled, the right to public relief and assistance; the right to freedom of religion; the right to work, to housing, to education and to access the court3. Yet, despite this international protection, refugees are among the most vulnerable people in the world4.
Hence, World Refugee Day is an opportunity to show solidarity by building empathy to the plight and sacrifice they have all faced and by recognising their resilience. This day also invites us to come together around the rights, needs and dreams of refugees. To raise awareness on the urgent need to protect and welcome them and to ensure that our societies not only ensure their security but also promote their fulfilment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed the power of unity in the face of injustice and threats, the need to show solidarity with those who are most vulnerable, and that every individual and collective action counts.
Because #WeCannotWalkAlone, join us in the movement : Together #withrefugees, Together we can achieve anything, Together we heal, learn and shine.
What can you do?
Attend an event:
Here are 6 events EPIC partners invite you to take part in:
- Tech Down Borders, hosted by Techfugees on 21 June 2021 at 14.00 BST/15.00 CET/9.00 am ET.
- Second-generation migrants and the political: between climate change fighters and citizenship requests, hosted by Inclu cities CEMR on Friday, 18 June 12.30 CET
- Rethinking Borders – World Refugee Month, organised by Rethinking refugees takes the form of several online events from 10 June to 26 June.
- A Refugee led Refugee Week Event Marathon, organised by New Women Connectors. From the 20 jun. 18:00 – 26 jun. 13:00.
- World Refugee Day – Panel Discussion, hosted by the International Rescue Committee Florida, on Saturday, June 19 at 7 pm CEST.
- From the Sea to the City: A Conference of Cities for a Welcoming Europe, hosted by From the Sea to the City Consortium, on 25-26 June 2021.
Read a book:
These are 10 books EPIC partners invite you to read:
- City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp, by Ben Rawlence (2016)
- The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria, by Samar Yazbek (2016)
- We are Displaced, by Malala Yousafzai (2019)
- The Lightless Sky, by Gulwali Passarlay (2016)
- The Refugees, by Viet Thanh Nguyen (2017)
- Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina, by Michaela DePrince (2014)
- In the Midst of Winter, by Isabel Allende (2017)
- Ulysses from Bagdad, by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt (2008)
- Refugee, by Alan Gratz (2017)
- Vahid, by Kristian Husted (2018)
Watch a film :
These are 10 films EPIC partners invite you to watch:
- No Man is an island, Tim de Keersmaecker (2016)
- Le bel été, Pierre Greton (2019)
- Human Flow, Ai Weiwei (2017)
- Fatima’s Drawings, Magnus Wennman (2016)
- North Star Fading, Karrie Fransman (2018)
- The citizen, Roland Vranick (2016)
- Jupiter’s Moon, Kornél Mundruczó (2016)
- Futur Drei, Faraz Shariat, (2020)
- Libre, Michel Toesca (2018)
- Mediterranea, Jonas Carpignano (2015)
Support an initiative:
These are 2 suggestions of initiatives EPIC partners invite you to support:
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has developed a toolkit indicating the different actions you can take and initiatives you can support, individually or in your organisation to amplify messages of inclusion on World Refugee Day.
- Support the Refugee Week’s festival managed by Counterpoints Arts. Until the 20th of June, they organise many events and activities from arts festivals, exhibitions, film screenings and museum tours to football tournaments, public talks and activities in schools. Moreover, through their Simple Act campaign, inspired by the theme ‘We Cannot Walk Alone’, they suggest simple, everyday actions that we can all do to support refugees and create new links in our communities.