Together We Heal, Learn and Shine
“It is the obligation of every person born in a safer room to open the door when someone in danger knocks.” — Dina Nayeri
The COVID-19 pandemic has been the latest poignant reminder for us that all human lives and experiences are intricately intertwined, and cannot be separated by any boundaries – geographic, nationalistic or otherwise. This is why it is so important to keep striving towards a more inclusive and equal world.
World Refugee Day, observed on June 20th, is a day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. The theme designated for World Refugee Day 2021 is ‘Together we heal, learn and shine’.
World Refugee Day is a recognition of the sheer grit and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home countries in order to escape conflict or persecution, and the resilience shown by them to rebuild their lives. Many activities are organised every year on this day, with the objective of building global empathy and understanding for the plight of refugees. It aims to bring to attention the rights, needs and dreams of refugees, seeking to mobilize political will and resources towards helping them not only survive, but also thrive.
Recently, the world has witnessed the highest levels of displacement on record. According to the UNHCR, the number of forcibly displaced around the world has surpassed 80 million, as recorded till mid-2020, out of which 30-34 million are children. Among these 80 million, 26.3 million are refugees and 4.2 million are asylum-seekers. There are also about 4.2 million stateless people, who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed an additional threat to refugees and displaced people, who are among the most vulnerable sections of the world population.
In keeping with the theme this year, we, as global citizens, must work in unity towards helping these vulnerable brothers and sisters of ours heal – by improving their access to basic health facilities; learn – by providing them with basic educational facilities; and shine – by helping them excel in various fields of their choice. Each of us can contribute to this cause by being a voice for change, as well as donating to various programs initiated by the UN, national governments and various non-profit organizations.
On this World Refugee Day, let us pledge to treat every human being equally, irrespective of their nationality, colour, creed or religion. If we see anyone being deprived of their basic rights, let us choose not to turn a blind eye to it. For in the famous words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” If everyone acknowledges that every person around them deserves respect and an honouring of their basic human rights, the world we live in could become a much better place.