Did you know…?
- Terms can be confusing. Here is a brief explanation of the different terms related to Refugees
- Refugee: People fleeing conflict or persecution
- Migrant: People moving to another country for reasons other than conflict or persecution
- Internally displaced people: People seeing safety in other parts of their country
- Asylum seekers: People seeking international protection from conflict and persecution
- Returnees: People who have returned home after being displaced.
- Stateless people: People who do not have the nationality of any country
(UN Refugee Agency https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/teaching-about-refugees.html)
- There were 79.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide
- 26 million refugees
- 45.7 million internally displaced people
- 4.2 million asylum-seekers
- 3.6 million Venezuelans displaced abroad
- 68% came from just 5 countries
- Syria: 6.6M (due to Syrian Civil War)
- Venezuela: 3.7M (Due to economic collapse)
- Afghanistan: 2.7M (Due to internal conflicts)
- South Sudan: 2.2M (Due to internal conflicts)
- Myanmar: 1.1M (Due to internal conflicts)
- 73% are housed in neighboring countries. The top hosting countries include
- Turkey: 3.6M
- Colombia: 1.8M
- Pakistan: 1.4M
- Uganda: 1.4M
- Germany: 1.1M
- 40% of displaced people are children
- 85% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries
- 2.4 M Iraqis are displaced, even though they host 250,000 Syrian refugees
- 593,000 people have fled from violence in Central African Republic, and about 600,000 people are displaced within the country
- Violence from criminal groups in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador has seen a recent spike in the last five years, resulting in ten times as many people fleeing those countries.
- According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, refugees have the right to safe asylum and to not be returned to their home country to face possible persecution. They are entitled to basic rights , especially the right to practice their religion, pursue education, and move about freely in their host country (World Vision, https://www.worldvision.org/refugees-news-stories/what-is-a-refugee-facts#top)
What can you do?
- Pray for protection for refugees as well as for personal transformation as we face the needs of refugees everywhere and pray that our elected officials respect refugees and do all in their power to support pro-refugee legislation. There are various services, one of which can be found at http://becomingneighbours.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/World-Refugee-Day-2019-Prayer-Service.pdf
- Call your elected officials and ask them to support pro refugee legislation
- Have a prayer service in your local community and invite others to participate.
- Write a postcard with a message of hope, comfort, and love to a refugee and send it to: Any Refugee c/o Jesuit Refugee Service USA 1627 K. Street NW, Suite 1100 Washington, DC 20006 USA
- The USCCB’s website: https://justiceforimmigrants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/WRD-2021-Toolkit1.pdf has a toolkit for World Refugee Day. Read it and talk to your family and/or friends about some of the talking points and post one or more of the ideas that are there on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.
Pray with us!
Millions of our brothers and sisters are on the move around the world.
Not by choice, but by desperation.
For those forced to flee violence,
We pray they find safety.
For those seeking economic opportunity,
We pray they find secure livelihoods.
For those trying to support and protect their families,
We pray they find communities to embrace them.
For those searching for peace and hope,
We pray that we may be bearers of the Good News.
We are called to be prophetic advocates in this world.
We pray that all migrant, refugees and displaced persons
May find safe and loving communities
And the opportunity to thrive.
And we pray that we, Sisters, Associates and colleagues, may have the courage to stand and act
In defense of human dignity for all our brothers and sisters in need.
(adapted from CRS)