This international day is an occasion to build empathy and understand the plight of 26 million refugees around the world.
We should add to this figure the over 45 million people who have been internally displaced due to war, conflict, persecution or human rights violations, plus asylum-seekers. Hence, over 80 million people around have been forced to flee their homes, longing for a place to call home.
Altogether, almost 70% of all refugees worldwide come from just five countries (Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar). By the same token, unaccompanied or separated children account for 40%, which is a major problem. (See UNHCR news)
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has always reached out to the neediest and helped migrants, refugees and displaced people with all the resources at its disposal. Some examples are the work carried out in Peru with Venezuelan refugees or in Lebanon, with regard to the distribution of hot meals to elderly refugees from Syria.
As a result of this commitment in our service, on April 15th, the SSVP’s President General International was invited by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development to take part in a debate on refugees and migrants around the world, and the work undertaken by Vincentian in this regard.
This date, 20th June, the World Refugee Day, is very close to the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is celebrated by the Church on 26th September, In Pope Francis’ 2021 message for this day, he stresses that “we are all in the same boat and called to work together so that there will be no more walls that separate us, no longer others, but only a single ‘we’, encompassing all of humanity”.