Update World Refugee Day 2013

World Refugee Day, observed June 20 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.

The figures in this report here are staggering, the scale of human misery appalling. 
The UN says 7.6 million people became refugees in 2012, with the total number now higher than at any time since 1994.

For each statistic a harrowing story- Click here for an article looking at why people flee their homes and how refugees are treated.

Below from the BBC News.

"A report from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that Syria is "a major new factor" driving up refugee numbers.

The report says 55% of all refugees come from five countries: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan and Syria.It also found that developing countries now hosted 81% of the world's refugees, 11% more than a decade ago."These truly are alarming numbers. 

 They reflect individual suffering on a huge scale and they reflect the difficulties of the international community in preventing conflicts and promoting timely solutions for them," said UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres.
Images source

Mr Guterres said that the figure of 7.6 million meant there was a new displaced person every 4.1 seconds. "Each time you blink another person is forced to flee," he said.
The UNHCR says the figures are based on data from the agency itself as well as from governments and other NGOs.
Afghanistan remained the world's biggest source of refugees, a position it has now held for 32 years, with 95% of Afghan refugees located in either Iran or Pakistan.
Somalis were the second biggest group of refugees in 2012, followed by Iraqis. Syrians were the fourth biggest group.
The figures do not, however, reflect the additional one million people who have fled Syria in the last six months.
The UN says if current trends persist, a further two million people will have left Syria by the end of this year. In the next few days it is expected to ask European countries to take at least some of them in.
The report also says there has been a marked rise in displacement from Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mali's army, heavily backed by France, has been fighting Islamist and ethnic Tuareg rebels this year. Islamists seized control of the north of the country after a military coup last year.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, some 800,000 people have fled since fighting broke out last year between government forces and the M23 rebel movement."

This article  by an Irish GP describes life in a Sudanese refugee camp where Médecins Sans Frontières are providing life-saving treatment in a tough environment

Click Here, for an article to mark World Refugee Day, Antoinette Powell, Communications officer for Christian Aid, reports back from her recent trip visiting Syrian refugees in Iraq.

What Does It Mean To Be A Refugee ?
 Oxfam video asked Syrian refugees living in Jordan

Unicef Video Children Talk About Their Experiences Of Being Displaced. 

Rethink Refugees - Najeeba's Story from Australia

Below are two videos showing the work of 
The Jesuit Refugee Service. 

In the late 1970s, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, then Superior General of the Society of Jesus, was moved by the perilous journeys to exile of the Vietnamese boat people. Although the Vietnam War had ended in 1975, it was not until 1979 that great numbers of people began to leave the country and seek refugee elsewhere through clandestine, risky journeys by sea. At that time Fr. Arrupe appealed to Jesuit major superiors for practical assistance. The spontaneous and generous 'first wave of action' provoked him to reflect on how much more the Society of Jesus could do if its responses to this, and to other contemporary crises of forced human displacement, were planned and coordinated. From that initial sentiment has grown a world-wide service to forcibly displaced people. On November 14, 1980, Fr. Arrupe announced the birth of Jesuit Refugee Service. The mission of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons.

JRS works in more than 50 countries worldwide to meet the educational, health, social and other needs of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS services are made available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs.

 This video below has a powerful message and the work of JRS was referred to by Pope Francis in his homily this week on the plight of refugees.

Click here for his homily:
 "We See The Face of Christ In The Face of Refugees."

Sanctuary and Sustenance
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) International along with Art Works Projects for Human Rights are commemorating this World Refugee Day 2013 with a 3-day digital projection reminding onlookers --from journalists and politicians, cardinals and clergy, to passersby and tourists-- that hospitality is a universal value.

"Sanctuary and sustenance, hospitality in the face of adversity", illustrates the difficulties facing refugees and the resilience they demonstrate during some of the world's greatest crises in 2013. Photojournalists from around the world lent their images to this show with the same goal -- to show us all how hard refugees work to get where they are, and how much they have to contribute to society.

We Refugees

I come from a musical place
Where they shoot me for my song
And my brother has been tortured
By my brother in my land.

I come from a beautiful place
Where they hate my shade of skin
They don't like the way I pray
And they ban free poetry.

I come from a beautiful place
Where girls cannot go to school
There you are told what to believe
And even young boys must grow beards.

I come from a great old forest
I think it is now a field
And the people I once knew
Are not there now.

We can all be refugees
Nobody is safe,
All it takes is a mad leader
Or no rain to bring forth food,
We can all be refugees
We can all be told to go,
We can be hated by someone
For being someone.

I come from a beautiful place
Where the valley floods each year
And each year the hurricane tells us
That we must keep moving on.

I come from an ancient place
All my family were born there
And I would like to go there
But I really want to live.

I come from a sunny, sandy place
Where tourists go to darken skin
And dealers like to sell guns there
I just can't tell you what's the price.

I am told I have no country now
I am told I am a lie
I am told that modern history books
May forget my name.

We can all be refugees
Sometimes it only takes a day,
Sometimes it only takes a handshake
Or a paper that is signed.
We all came from refugees
Nobody simply just appeared,
Nobody's here without a struggle,
And why should we live in fear
Of the weather or the troubles?
We all came here from somewhere. 

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