The 1951 Refugee Convention establishing the United Nations refugee agency declares: a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.” http://bit.ly/aix15K
Refugee Day (20th June 2010) has come and gone. Refugee week too. Congratulations to the people taking part and above all, to those organizing the events, the publicity, the media, those attracting attention to displaced persons fleeing persecution as well as those celebrating the achievements of refugees.
But what now? What comes the day after? And the day after that? Will our attention be drawn somewhere else, to another, no doubt, worthy cause? The refugees are still here, many under the skies, lacking water, food, warmth, traumatized. Let us not wait for next year’s refugee day to remember them. Let refugee awareness become part of our everyday consciousness and conscience. Part of our lives.
Here are some pointers to organizations that help:
Facts about refugees: see information http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk/InfoCentre/Facts
Though the 2010 refugee week has come and gone, the information on this site is valid and useful: http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk/Events
For the best resource, see the United Nations Refugee Agency website: http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home
Highlighting the plight of tens of thousands of refused asylum seekers who are destitute, homeless and not allowed to work in the UK: http://stillhumanstillhere.wordpress.com/
“The largest refugee organization in the UK providing advice and assistance to asylum seekers and refugees”: http://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/