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Statement of the OAS General Secretariat on World Refugee Day

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June 20, 2020

On World Refugee Day, we urge everyone to recognize the dignity and resilience of millions of people around the world who have been forced to leave their homes. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at the end of 2019 at least 79.5 million people had been forcibly displaced worldwide. According to UNHCR's Global Trends in Forced Displacement study, at the end of 2019 the countries of the Americas included:

  • 701,652 refugees

  • 1,902,133 asylum seekers

  • 3,582,203 displaced Venezuelans

  • 8,295,002 internally displaced persons

On World Refugee Day we reiterate our commitment from the Organization of American States (OAS) to continue working with our member states and observers, with our partners such as UNHCR Americas, civil society organizations, and the refugees and displaced persons themselves for their protection and the achievement of beneficial solutions for all.

One situation is of particular concern to us in the region with regard to refugees. As of June 2020, nearly 5.1 million Venezuelans have been forced to move to other countries. This is the second largest crisis of forced displacement after that of Syria. The situation of Venezuelan forced displaced persons joins other crises of forced displacement in the region, such as Central America. From the OAS we will continue to pay special attention to these situations, and work in favor of refugees and forcibly displaced persons from Venezuela and Central America.

Reference: E-066/20