World Refugee Day

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In a world where violence forces hundreds of families to flee each day, the UN Refugee Agency believes now is the time to show world leaders that the global public stands with refugees, and it will launch its #WithRefugees petition on June 20th to send a message to governments that they must work together and do their fair share for refugees.

The #WithRefugees petition will be delivered to UN headquarters in New York ahead of the UN High Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants, scheduled for the 19th September. The petition asks governments to:

Ensure every refugee child gets an education.
Ensure every refugee family has somewhere safe to live.
Ensure every refugee can work or learn new skills to make a positive contribution
to their community.
World Refugee Day has been marked on 20 June, ever since the UN General Assembly, on 4 December 2000, adopted resolution 55/76 where it noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June.

We Stand #WithRefugees 2016

‘Shared Studios has partnered with the United Nations Department of Public Information, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign, UNICEF Jordan, UNHCR, and Bridges of Understanding to bring a Portal back to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on June 20, 2016 – World Refugee Day.

Portals are gold shipping containers equipped with immersive audio-visual technology and placed in public sites around the world. When individuals enter a Portal, they come face-to-face with a stranger in a distant, identical Portal and can converse live as if in the same room.

The UN Portal will connect to the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan, which is home to roughly 80,000 Syrians fleeing violence and war. Children make up half the camp’s population. Individuals and groups in New York and Zaatari will be able to engage one another in dialogue and programmed events over the summer in the UN Visitors Lobby.

WorldRefugeeDay(3)On display alongside the Portal will be the award-winning Virtual Reality film,’ Clouds Over Sidra’, (http://with.in/watch/clouds-over-sidra/)  which enables people to see Zaatari through the eyes of a young Syrian Refugee girl living in the camp. The immersive experiences of Portals and the VR film are part of a larger exhibition entitled Refugees, which draws attention to the plight of refugees and focuses on the work of the UN and member states in addressing their needs. The exhibition will be open to the public in the UN Visitors Lobby until mid September.’ (http://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/assets/pdf/UN_Portals%20Press%20Release.pdf)

A group of Syrian refugees arrive on the island of Lesbos after traveling in an inflatable raft from Turkey, near Skala Sykaminias, Greece. The Eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece has overtaken the central Mediterranean route, from North Africa to Italy, as the primary one for arrivals by sea. From January to June this year, 68,000 people arrived in Greece, compared with 67,500 in Italy, accounting for nearly all the arrivals in the period.
A group of Syrian refugees arrive on the island of Lesbos after traveling in an inflatable raft from Turkey, near Skala Sykaminias, Greece. The Eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece has overtaken the central Mediterranean route, from North Africa to Italy, as the primary one for arrivals by sea. From January to June this year, 68,000 people arrived in Greece, compared with 67,500 in Italy, accounting for nearly all the arrivals in the period.

Bridges of Understanding, a Not-For-Profit refugee agency states,  ‘We are experiencing one of the most significant global refugee crises in nearly 70 years, and arguably the worst humanitarian emergency since the Rwandan genocide 20 years ago. The epicenter of this current crisis is the civil war in Syria, which began five years ago.’

For resources about World Refugee Day, visit: http://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/