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1-min read

Why the UN Wants You to Take a Step on World Refugee Day 2019

With the #StepWithRefugees initiative, the UNHCR is urging people from all walks of life to walk, run, swim, dance or take any step with refugees to show their solidarity.

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Updated:June 20, 2019, 2:21 PM IST
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Why the UN Wants You to Take a Step on World Refugee Day 2019
(File Photo) (Image: REUTERS)
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World Refugee Day is celebrated every year on June 20 to commemorate the resilience and courage of refugees around the world and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged people to be a part of its #StepWithRefugees campaign to mark the international day this year.

June 20 was designated as World Refugee Day after the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on December 4, 2000, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and World Refugee Day.

The UN General Assembly noted that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on June 20.

Resolution 55/76 also commended international action for refugees while acknowledging the “tireless efforts of the Office of the High Commissioner to provide international protection and assistance to refugees and other persons of concern and to promote durable solutions for their problems during the past fifty years.”

It also reaffirmed “support for the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner, in accordance with the relevant General Assembly resolutions, on behalf of returnees, stateless persons and internally displaced persons” while noting the “crucial role of partnerships with Governments and international, regional and non-governmental organizations, as well as of the participation of refugees in decisions that affect their lives.”

Since 2001, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and civic groups around the world host World Refugee Day events in order to draw public attention to the plight of millions of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict and persecution.

Every year, the World Refugee Day is celebrated with a different theme. The theme for World Refugee Day 2019 is #StepWithRefugees as the UNHCR urges “communities, schools, businesses, faith groups and people from all walks of life” to take “big and small steps in solidarity with refugees.”

Step 1 of the World Refugee Day 2019 theme includes people joining “the #StepWithRefugees challenge and walk, run, dance, swim 1 km/mile or take any step with refugees.”

Participants can then post a photo or video of themselves after they have completed the challenge and nominate three friends to take a step further!

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