World Refugee Day: At record 65M, UN calls for more action

Refugee numbers are at a record high globally – at a level not seen since the end of World War Two.

The world is marking World Refugee Day and the United Nations is calling for more action.

CGTN’s Nick Harper reports from New York.

Sayed Saber Ibrahimi knows about refugees. He was one. Forced to flee the Taliban in Afghanistan, he spent most of his teenage years across the border from his homeland, in Pakistan.

“I missed home all the time, I wanted to return. I wasn’t feeling comfortable there, especially as we were referred to as refugees. The name refugee, the tag refugee has this negative connotation that you don’t belong to that community,” Ibrahimi said.

The number of displaced people worldwide has again hit a record level – more than 65 million people, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

“Each individual number really reflects a deep level of human loss and trouble that is experienced every minute and every second of everyday; where 20 people are displaced every minute and 3 people are forcibly displaced from their home every single second,” Ninette Kelley, director of UNHCR said.

“It’s those sort of figures that has prompted the U.N. to launch a petition urging governments to do their fair share for refugees. That means Western governments doing more to fund or take in a larger proportion of affected people.”

But under President Donald Trump, the United States has sought to limit the number of refugees allowed in.

This, while anti-immigrant fervor across Europe has been well documented in countries like Britain, France, Germany and beyond.

This week the U.N. refugee chief visited South Sudan, the country with the fastest-growing displacement crisis.

“We need to become able to make peace again. Wherever I am, in Aleppo just months ago, here in South Sudan, this is the cry of people. We want peace,” Filippo Grandi, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said.

Ibrahimi, who now has a visa to work and study in the U.S., knows that firsthand. He’s seen bad leadership lead to violence. And he now wants to see less stigma for refugees and more help.

“Every day I think about refugees, you know as myself I was a refugee. And I think about Syrian refugees, I think about Afghan refugees, Somali refugees. They’re just people who were looking for a better life. They were persecuted in their own communities and therefore they need protection, and we need to protect them if we can,” Ibrahimi said.

This article and video were originally published by CGTV on June 20, 2017

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Jun 21, 2017
Nick Harper, Said Sabir Ibrahimi