World Refugee Day: 20 June 2006
Thursday, June 1, 2006 10:50 AM

According to the 1951 Refugee Convention (PDF, 56 pages), refugees are those who, "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country..." The UNHCR estimates there are approximately 19.2 million refugees, asylum seekers and others of concern. UNIFEM estimates about 80% of refugees are women and children. "Leaving homes, property and community behind, renders women vulnerable to violence, disease and food scarcity, whether women flee willingly or unwillingly."(cited in: Women, War, Peace and Displacement, UNIFEM Women, War Peace Portal, last visited 2 June 2006).

In 2001, the General Assembly adopted a resolution (PDF, 2 pages) designating June 20 as World Refugee Day.  In honor of World Refugee Day on June 20, several countries will host special events including: Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and others. For more information on specific events in each of these countries and more, visit the Events Page of the World Refugee Day site.