28 June 2011


There are an estimated 10.4 million refugees currently of concern to the United Nations. A further 4.7 million registered refugees are looked after in some 60 camps in the Middle East by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

In addition a further 26 million people are estimated to be displaced within their own country.

The refugees of concern to UNHCR are spread around the world, with more than half in Asia and some 20 percent in Africa. They live in widely varying conditions, from well-established camps and collective centres to makeshift shelters or living in the open.

Most of these refugees are living in countries which are struggling to provide basic services to their own populations. Relatively few are to be found in the more inaccessible affluent countries. Nevertheless faced with the prospect of an extended stay in a refugee camp with an uncertain future, it is understandable that some will take great risks in an attempt to attain a better life for themselves and their children.

The UN General Assembly has proclaimed June 20th as World Refugee Day to raise awareness about the plight of refugees and promote a greater understanding and compassion towards a group of people who are often treated with hostility and injustice.

Visit the World Refugee Day site for more information about refugees and to play the interactive game “Against All Odds”.

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