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UN observes World Refugee Day

06-21-2012 05:06 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, June 20 (Xinhua) -- With more than 42 million people displaced from their homes worldwide, renowned landmarks, will once again, join the UN as it observes World Refugee Day on Wednesday.

"As in past years, landmarks around the world are being illuminated in United Nations blue," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here at the daily news briefing.

"(Those include) the Colosseum in Rome, the Empire State Building in New York, and the CN Tower in Toronto," he said.

In a statement released here by the Secretary-General's office, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that "World Refugee Day is a moment to remember all those affected, and time to intensify our support."

Recent reports from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimate that about 800,000 people were forced to forcibly flee their homes in 2011. According to the agency, this is the largest amount of displaced people they have seen since the first World Refugee Day was observed in 2000.

Meanwhile, in his statement, the UN chief noted that some refugees are facing decades of exile.

"Kenya's third biggest city is a refugee camp, and hosts over half a million Somalis, many in their third decade of exile," said the UN chief in his statement. "Niger, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso -- suffering famine and drought -- now host some 175, 000 refugees fleeing conflict in Mali."

"These countries cannot be left to shoulder the burden alone," said the UN chief, as he stressed that the international community must not turn away those who seek asylum from war within their countries borders.

"Despite budget constraints everywhere, we must not turn away those in need," said the UN chief. "Refugees leave because they have no choice -- we must choose to help."

In accordance, the UNHCR will be unveiling a new campaign aptly named "Dilemmas." The campaign is set to target the international community, in order to bring sympathy, and understanding of the choices that refugees are faced with.

The campaign will be supported with several television spots, as well as having the full support of celebrity UNHCR ambassador Angelina Jolie, among other UNHCR ambassadors.

"Unfortunately, the world is producing displaced people faster that it is producing solutions to displacement. And the solutions are not exclusively humanitarian -- they are also political," said Jolie in a statement.


Editor:Bai Yang |Source: Xinhua

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