|KHRP Welcomes World Refugee Day 2009|
KHRP today welcomed today the announcement by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) that World Refugee Day is to take place on 20 June 2009.
The day, which is held annually, was first held in 2001 to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which outlined the rights of individuals granted asylum and the obligations of states who grant it.
Each year a different theme is held to reflect major issues affecting the world’s estimated 42 million refugees. This year, as a response to the global economic crisis and the potential reduction in national aid budgets as a consequence, the UNHCR has announced that 2009’s theme will be ‘Real People, Real Needs’ – in reflection of the importance of providing for refugees’ most basic needs, including clean water, healthcare and protection from violence.
KHRP has frequently sought to raise awareness of the dangers faced by the many refugees in the Kurdish regions. In 2007 KHRP published a fact-finding mission report entitled Refusing Refuge, which raised particular concern about the level of protection afforded to refugees seeking asylum through Turkey, a concern which has been particularly acute in recent years with ongoing conflicts in Iraq and the Kurdish regions of Iran continuing to displace thousands.
‘World Refugee Day serves as an important reminder to us all of the millions of people who face day-to-day struggles as a result of conflict and persecution,’ said KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yildiz. ‘We hope that the current economic difficulties will not deter governments from continuing to increase overseas aid. The plight of refugees is other people’s problems not theirs, and we all have an obligation to support, not penalize them, for their misfortune.’