20 June marked World Refugee Day, dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of refugees around the world and recognizing the resilience it takes to rebuild their lives, while also paying tribute to the communities that so generously shelter them. UNHCR’s ‘Every Action Counts’ campaign emphasizes that everyone can make a difference in the effort to create a more just, inclusive and equal world. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become ever more important to call for greater global solidarity and action to include and support refugees, internally displaced and stateless people as well as their hosts.
Globally, refugees have taken action to fight the coronavirus in their hosting communities. In the High Commissioner’s statement to commemorate World Refugee Day, refugees’ resilience was highlighted as inspiring, in their determination to overcome challenges and in their significant contributions, despite often living in extremely vulnerable conditions.
Across MENA, World Refugee Day was celebrated, albeit under different circumstances than other years. In Turkey, UNHCR cooperated with some 30 metropolitan and district mayors, as well as representatives of umbrella organizations and a high-profile supporter to produce video messages under the themes of Everyone Can Make a Difference and Every Action Counts. The video messages posted on UNHCR’s social media accounts underline the impact of COVID-19 on host and refugee populations, the need for solidarity and the paramount role of towns and cities in creating inclusive communities and promoting hope. In Morocco, for World Refugee Day, UNHCR organized a public session on the psychosocial impact of COVID-19 and provided recommendations for refugees and asylum-seekers to help them deal with post-confinement.