Call for solidarity on World Refugee Day

Refugee Festival Scotland Celebrating Solidarity
More than 1200 people celebrated solidarity with refugees at the launch event of Refugee Festival Scotland 2016 at The Hidden Gardens in Glasgow

One in every 113 people in the world is now a refugee, according to a report published by the United Nations today, 20 June 2016, on World Refugee Day.

 The report also said that there are over 65 million forcibly displaced people worldwide now – more than 12 million of whom were displaced in 2015 – and that 24 people were displaced from their homes every minute.

Children make up over half of the number of forcibly displaced people.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said: “We are facing the biggest refugee and displacement crisis of our time.

“Above all, this is not just a crisis of numbers; it is also a crisis of solidarity.”

Solidarity is the theme of this year’s Refugee Festival Scotland, which takes place across Scotland around World Refugee Day from 14-26 June and offers a host of events at which local and refugee communities can mingle and get to know one another. It also offers a chance for Scots to show they stand with refugees at a difficult time.

Gary Christie, Head of Policy & Communications at Scottish Refugee Council, said: "The UN World Refugee Day honours the courage and strength of the women, men and children forced to flee their homelands under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.

"It is particularly important to celebrate World Refugee Day this year as the world is in the midst of the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

"World Refugee Day is a day to celebrate the valuable contribution refugees make to our society and the warm welcome Scots have extended to people seeking a safe haven."

Faith groups from across Scotland also called for the humane treatment of refugees and for positive solutions in a joint statement today.

Leaders of these faith groups – from Jewish to Muslim, Catholic to Quaker and more – said:

 “On International Refugee Day 2016 we offer our solidarity to those seeking sanctuary, and we encourage and commend faith communities who work with refugees to provide hospitality and to seek to build mutual understanding.

“We urge the UK Government to adopt and develop its refugee and asylum policies based on hope and protection for the most vulnerable. We further call on the UK to take a fairer proportion of refugees wherever there is human need, and to develop safe and legal routes to the UK for those fleeing terror and war.”

During Refugee Festival Scotland, groups such as the Scottish Refugee Policy Forum and the Refugee Women’s Strategy Group are hosting events for those who want to find out more about their work.