By Matia Samuel Timatio
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said this year the world has reached a stark milestone of over 100 million children, women and men who have been uprooted from their homes by war, violence, persecution and human rights abuses.
The UN Refugee Agency made the revealation on Monday as the world celebrates the World Refugees Day that is being commemorated on 20th June every year.
UNHCR in a press release seen by No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper indicated that the right to seek protection has never been more important for people whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whenever they are forced to flee where.
It added that the fundamental right is non-negotiable and has given life-saving protection to countless millions of people worldwide with many of them in Central Africa.
At the closer of 2021, the number of refugees worldwide reached 27.1 million, while 53.2 million remained displaced within the borders of their countries. In recent years, more than 2.3 million people escaping conflict in South Sudan have sought and been granted asylum in five neighboring countries: Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to UNHCR.
South Sudan as a young country despite facing multiple challenges, has also generously opened its territory to 343,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from Sudan, but also from Ethiopia and DRC.
This year on the World Refugee Day, marked each year on 20 June to highlight the strength and resilience of people forced to flee. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is restating five core principles that have saved these and countless other lives like the right to seek asylum where seeking asylum is a human right. Anyone fleeing persecution, conflict, or human rights abuses has a right to seek protection in another country.
It pointed that borders should remain open to all people forced to flee. Restricting access and closing borders can make the journey even more dangerous for people seeking safety.
The UN Refugee Agency stressed that people should not be forced to return to a country if their life or freedom would be at risk. This means that countries shouldn’t push anyone back without first evaluating the dangers they. would face back home.
“People should not be discriminated against at borders. All applications for refugee status must be given fair consideration, regardless of factors like race, religion, gender and country of origin and people forced to flee should be treated with respect and dignity. They are entitled to safe and dignified treatment like any human being. Among other things, this means keeping families together, protecting people from traffickers and avoiding arbitrary detention” the stated indicated.
The UNHCR said protecting people forced to flee is a collective global responsibility. Once they are out of harm’s way, people fleeing wars or persecution need opportunities to heal, learn, work and thrive in line with the Refugee Convention and the Global Compact on Refugees. And they need solutions, such as the chance to return home in safety and dignity, to integrate locally, or in the most vulnerable cases to be resettled to a third country.
World Refugee Day was commemorated by the United Nations since 2001 and more than 100 nations observe this day each year. Refugee Day honours the plight of asylum seekers and it also encourages government globally to take action in order to improve their lives with various programs.
This year’s World Refuge Day was celebrated under the theme” Whoever. Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to safety”.