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Refugee crisis saw 12 million people displaced last year

This news post is over 7 years old

Figures released for World Refugee Day highlights the shocking number of people who were forced from their homes last year

One in every 113 people in the world is now a refugee, according to a report published by the United Nations for 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.

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 - Gary Christie

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 and 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.

In a joint statment the leaders of these faith groups, which included The Church of Scotland, Scottish Council of Jewish Communities and the Muslim Council of Scotland 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.”

A range of activities has been going on over the course of Refugee Festival Scotland, from policy and campaigning events to arts and culture.

An exhibition documenting the welcome received by refugees in Scotland over the last 100 years is currently on dispaly at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow.

It was created and curated by a group of refugees and local Scots who have spent the last year uncovering the forgotten history of nearly 20,000 Belgian refugees who were resettled in Scotland during WW1.

The group includes people from Sudan, Eritrea, Syria, Iran and Scotland. Their work explores the similarities and differences between their own current experiences of rebuilding their lives in Scotland and the experiences of the Belgian refugees resettled here 100 years ago.

One of the group's researchers, Omar, a shopkeeper from Sudan (pictured), said: "I left my home in 2014. I have crossed countries and deserts and the Mediterranean Sea until I found myself in the UK.

"I know some people think refugees are poor and they are looking for money, but that is a misunderstanding. We left our oxygen - our families and friends - behind because we had to save our lives. Now I have found oxygen again thanks to this project."

Scottish Refugee Council’s arts and cultural development officer Suzi Maciver said: "People have been forced to flee their homes and seek safety in other countries for generations. The refugee experience is not unique to the time we live in now."



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Ian Davidson
over 7 years ago
These figures are staggering; just under 1% of the human population of this fragile and interconnected planet are displaced, largely due to the negative actions taken by other humans and governments. It is almost an epic battle between good, evil, ignorance and indifference! Individuals, organisations and governments of good will must not despair; we should each and all do what we can each day to make the world (at least slightly) better than it might otherwise be and to help as many refugees as we can. Any of us could face that situation by accident of birth.
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