Joining Hands To Mark World Refugee Day 2014

Published on 22 June 2014

CAIRO - As humanitarian crises continue to erupt in the region, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) commemorate the World Refugee Day on June 20th, as Egypt continues to host more than 200,000 refugees at a time when global forced displacement tops 50 million for the first time since World War II.

These staggering figures, released on World Refugee Day by UNHCR in its flagship annual Global Trends Report, are driven mainly by the war in Syria, which at the end of last year had forced 2.5 million people into becoming refugees.

“This is the most urgent story of our time,” said Mr. Mohamed Dayri, UNHCR Regional Representative to Egypt. “The last three years have witnessed unprecedented numbers of people fleeing war and human rights abuses in the Middle East and North Africa.  On this year World Refugee Day, UNHCR aims to shift that focus to the devastating impact of war on families.”

UNHCR is asking people from all over the world to show their support for families forced to flee by sharing a refugee story.  Members of the public can read, view and share refugee stories at http://stories.unhcr.org and also upload their own story.

UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF mark World Refugee Day as an opportunity to honor the courage and resilience of those who have fled their familiar surroundings to escape violence and human rights abuses in search of a safe haven for themselves and their children.

In Egypt, UNHCR cares for refugees from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, providing protection, health care services, education grants, responding to emergencies and financial assistance for the most vulnerable families.

WFP provides food assistance to over 110,000 Syrian refugees including 3500 Palestinians from Syria, through its food vouchers.  By helping cover the basic daily nutritional needs of Syrian refugees in Egypt, WFP helps ease the burden on them and their host community. Since the start of the emergency programme in February 2013, WFP has injected more than LE150 million (US$22 million) into the Egyptian economy through food vouchers given out to Syrian refugees.

“World Refugee Day serves to remind us of the severe hardships that millions of people around the world endure. One of the main fears of refugees in asylum is providing basic nutrition for their families. This is where WFP comes in. It is our goal to provide the most vulnerable of them with food that covers their daily nutritional needs. We do so through food assistance vouchers that give them the freedom to choose the food items they need. Our food assistance also serves to boost the local economy,” said Lubna Alaman, Country Director & Representative WFP Egypt.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.

For the UNICEF Representative in Egypt, Philippe Duamelle:  "As violence continues to affect Syria and other countries across the region, the World Refugee Day reminds us of the suffering and uncertainty faced by millions of refugees around the world.  Refugee children are more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and other forms of violations of their rights.  As per the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, all children are entitled to protection and support, and few need this more than refugee children."

In Egypt, UNICEF together with government and civil society partners, provide psychosocial support to Syrian refugee children to help them overcome the violence they have witnessed and the trauma they have endured.  In the same way, UNICEF also assists schools providing education to Syrian children, as well as primary health centers across 10 governorates where Syrian families receive health care.

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything they do. Together with their partners, they work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information on UNHCR please contact
Marwa Hashim, UNHCR/Cairo, Mob. +2 0122 3124016 - hashemma@unhcr.org
For more information on WFP please contact
Amina Al Korey, WFP/Cairo, Mob. +2 01028531535 -  amina.alkorey@wfp.org 
For more information on UNICEF please contact
Hala Abu Khatwa, UNICEF/Cairo, Mob.+2 01222142567 - habukhatwa@unicef.org