On June 20th the World Refugee Day is celebrated in many places, with many positive initiatives that emanate from the United Nations, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and countless civic groups. Each year several events are held around the world in order to draw attention to millions of people who have fled their countries and homes fearing conflicts, wars, violence, human rights violations or persecutions. There are different types of forcibly displaced persons: refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons and returnees.
On the occasion of this annual commemoration, a wide range of events are marked by different organisations in more than 100 countries. For years, many countries and regions have held their own refugee days and even weeks. Government officials, humanitarian aid workers, celebrities and civilians are involved in organising proper initiatives and activities, with the main goal of raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.
Within this scenario, we have selected “non-refoulement” as the IATE Term of the Week, since it concerns a really hot topic these days, highly present in the international scene and in the world’s medias.
This term refers to a “core principle of international refugee law that prohibits States from returning refugees in any manner whatsoever to countries or territories in which their lives or freedom may be threatened”. The principle of non-refoulement is part of customary international law and is therefore binding on all States, whether or not they are parties to the 1951 Convention.
The escalating crisis in several countries is one of the main causes of the increase of multiple refugee flows in the world. As nowadays many EU countries tend to refuse the reception of more refugees, the issue has gained a large international prominence. Actually, there is an ongoing discussion in the international community about the best practice to deal with this phenomenon.
Indeed, growing crisis has pushed the number of forcibly displaced people to the highest level since World War II. The latest figures show that the world’s forcibly-displaced population hits a record of 38 million. The “Global Overview 2015: People internally displaced by conflict and violence” report, released by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva recently, says that 11 million people were newly displaced by violent events throughout 2014.
Within this panorama, the United Nations wants the international community to have a European commitment to overcome its differences and to make sure that situation can be sustainable.
- United Nations: http://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/
- United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR): http://stories.unhcr.org/
- Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre: http://www.internal-displacement.org/publications/2015/global-overview-2015-people-internally-displaced-by-conflict-and-violence
- Master Glossary of terms: http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/refworld/rwmain/opendocpdf.pdf?docid=42ce7d444
- World Refugee Day: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Refugee_Day
- UN News Centre: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=50785#.VYGL1HvsSpA
- Refugees and internally displaced persons. Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection. European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/thematic/refugees_en.pdf
- ABC News: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-20/number-of-forcibly-displaced-people-hits-51-million/5539270
- Mapping Displaced People Around the World: http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/maps/mapping-displaced-people-around-the-world/?ar_a=1
- Protecting refugees and forcibly displaced persons. Global Migration Group: http://www.globalmigrationgroup.org/theme/protecting-refugees-and-forcibly-displaced-persons
By Lidia Capitan Zamora
Journalist, web editor and social media expert
Communication Trainee at TermCoord