World Refugee Day – June 20th

Posted on June 2, 2016

By Debra Kirby

Since ancient times refugees have fled their homes and countries because of war, famine, natural disaster, and religious and racial persecution and genocide, often risking their lives and the lives of their children in search of safe haven. The current Syrian refugee crisis is only the latest in a string of similar tragic human events that has occurred in every corner of the world.

In the aftermath of World War II in response to the atrocities committed during that conflict, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was issued by the United Nations, which recognized the right of persecuted people to seek asylum in other countries. The United Nations also established the IUN International Refugees Organization (IRO), which provided assistance to some 1.5 million European and Asian World War II refugees. Though it was disbanded in 1951, it was replaced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which continues to provide such assistance and which established the first World Refugee Day on June 20, 2001 – now an annual event observed by more than 100 countries throughout the world.

To learn more about refugees, check out the wealth of information in Gale’s Global Issues In Context. There you will find thousands of authoritative reference and periodical articles, audio podcasts, videos, images, and primary sources as well as viewpoints organized via such curated topic pages as:

  • Refugees
  • European Migrant Crisis
  • Asylum and Safe Haven
  • Migrant and Refugee Health Issues
  • Immigrants and Immigration
  • Syrian Civil War
  • Rwanda Genocide
  • Islamic State
  • Darfur
  • Arab-Israeli Conflict
  • Sudan and South Sudan
  • Human Rights
  • United Nations
  • And more….

Read about the international response to different refugee crises in modern history, and compare that to current efforts to aid Syrian refugees.  What, if anything, have we learned from the past?


[alert-info]Megan McCarthy

About the Author

When Debra, a 30-year veteran of the publishing industry, is not working or reading, she can be found gardening, running, swimming, or “motivating” the students attending her early morning spinning classes at the local YMCA by sharing lame puns and quiz questions.



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