June 20th

World Refugee Day -

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Each year on the 20th of June, we commemorate World Refugee Day, a day set apart globally to recognize the bravery, fortitude, and determination of people who have been compelled to leave their homes because of strife or oppression. This vital observance, established by the United Nations, shines a spotlight on the plight of refugees and underscores the ongoing efforts to safeguard their rights.

This day is a chance for everyone, everywhere, to stand in support and raise awareness about the challenges that refugees face.

History of World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day is commemorated each year on June 20 with the objective of bringing global attention to the circumstances of refugees around the world. These individuals have had no choice but to leave their homes due to conflict, persecution, and catastrophes. This day is dedicated to appreciating the bravery, resilience, and resolve of men, women, and children who had to escape their native homelands because of these harrowing threats.

The suggestion to mark World Refugee Day came from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who presented the idea to the United Nations General Assembly in 2000. The General Assembly then took the decision that June 20 would be established as World Refugee Day from 2001 onwards.

The selected date was designed to align with Africa Refugee Day, which had already been marked in various African nations before the year 2001. This special day had been celebrated to highlight the ongoing refugee crisis in the African continent. The United Nations adopted this idea and spread it worldwide to cover all regions facing refugee crises.

Global events and activities are organized on this day to draw the world’s attention to the vast number of refugees and internally displaced individuals across the globe. These events aim to inspire empathy and understanding for their predicament and motivate steps towards ensuring their protection and human dignity.

World Refugee Day Timeline

Displaced Persons After World War II

World War II creates an unprecedented number of refugees across Europe.

UN Refugee Convention

The United Nations adopts the Refugee Convention, a key legal document in defining who is a refugee, their rights, and the obligations of states.

Establishment of World Refugee Day

The United Nations General Assembly, in Resolution 55/76, decides that from 2001, 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day.

First World Refugee Day

The first World Refugee Day is observed globally to draw attention to the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide.

20 Years of Refugee Protection

On this year's World Refugee Day, the UNHCR marks two decades of helping displaced people around the world.

Syrian Refugee Crisis

World Refugee Day brings focus on the escalating Syrian refugee crisis.

World Refugee Day amid the Global Refugee Crisis

The Day is marked amid the highest levels of displacement on record.

Ideas to Celebrate World Refugee Day

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Refugee Stories Exhibit

Organize a public exhibit showcasing the stories, art, and culture of refugees in the local community. This not only creates awareness about their struggles and triumphs but also celebrates their courage and resilience.

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Fundraising Marathon for Refugee Support

Encourage fitness and charitable giving by organizing a community run or walk. Proceeds can be donated to local or global organizations that aid in refugee resettlement and support.

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Refugee Speaker Forum

Arrange a public speaking forum where refugees from various backgrounds can share their personal experiences and journey. This helps to break down stereotypes and fosters empathy among the listeners.

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Volunteer at a Refugee Shelter

Spend the day volunteering at a local refugee shelter or community center. Helping with practical things like meal preparation, tutoring, or translation services can make a big difference.

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Documentary Screenings

Arrange for screenings of documentaries and films centered around refugee experiences. End with a discussion session to deepen understanding and empathy towards refugees.

7 Interesting Facts About Refugees


Countries Hosting the Highest Number of Refugees

As of 2023, Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees (about 4 million), most of whom are from Syria. Other countries hosting a large number of refugees include Pakistan, Uganda, and Sudan.


First Refugee Olympic Team

In the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil, a team of refugee athletes competed under the Olympic flag for the very first time. The team had 10 members who originally hailed from South Sudan, Syria, Ethiopia, and more.


World's Youngest Refugees

Over half of the world’s refugees are children. Many of these kids have been separated from their families or are traveling alone.


Long-lasting Displacement

Refugees spend an average of 10 years in exile, and for four in ten, the wait is over 20 years.


Internally Displaced Person vs Refugee

While both Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees are forced to flee their homes, the difference between the two lies in their destination. IDPs relocate within their own country, while refugees cross international boundaries.


Largest Refugee Camps

One of the largest refugee camps is located in Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh, which hosts close to a million Rohingya refugees displaced from Myanmar. Another notable large camp is the Bidi Bidi settlement in Uganda, one of the largest for refugees fleeing the South Sudanese civil war.


Famous Refugees

Famous figures from history and today, such as Albert Einstein, Madeleine Albright, Freddie Mercury, and M.I.A., were refugees at some points in their lives.

World Refugee Day FAQs

Next World Refugee Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 June 20th Tuesday
2024 June 20th Thursday
2025 June 20th Friday
2026 June 20th Saturday
2027 June 20th Sunday
What is the pattern? Every June 20th

World Refugee Day Word Search

  • Refugees
  • Asylum
  • Displaced
  • Integration
  • Solidarity
  • Empathy