World Refugee Day 2021: Theme, significance, history and everything you need to know

June 20th is marked by World Refugee Day. This day is celebrated to raise awareness around the plight of refugees across the globe. Let us find out the key importance and history of this day.

Updated on Jun 21, 2021 12:17 PM IST  |  382.1K
world refugee day
World Refugee Day 2021: Theme, significance history and facts
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June 20 is marked by World Refugee Day and we are here to talk about the relevance of this day, some facts, history and theme for this year. 

World Refugee Day is observed to raise awareness about the plight of the refugees across the world and to improve their living conditions. Refugees are people who leave their origins and have been displaced from their homes or countries because of some internal disputes, climate crisis, conflicts, terrorism or natural disaster. Hence, they cross borders to seek shelter elsewhere in a foreign country. It could be a neighbouring nation or a distant country. 


This day is celebrated to honour their resilience and courage in the face of extreme discrimination and injustice. You can take this day to show respect to someone who has been displaced from their country and has been forced to fled to another to seek shelter. It highlights the dreams, aspirations and rights of a refugee.

The date was decided by the United Nations General Assembly while adopting Resolution 55/76 on December 4, 2000. World Refugee Day was celebrated for the first time in 2001 on June 20 on the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention or 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. According to the UNHCR, June 20 was earlier marked as the Africa Refugee Day but it was changed to World Refugee Day in December 2000.

On this day several events are organized across the globe to honour refugees in each country. These events are led by refugees themselves and include several government officials, celebrities and various communities to raise awareness and increase support for the refugees by giving them opportunities in various fields. 

The theme for this year is ‘Together we heal, learn and shine’. It focuses on encouraging governments to expand healthcare for refugees, especially during the time of a pandemic. It urges people to donate to the healthcare and education of young refugees.


According to the UN, over 20 people leave their homes every minute to seek shelter in other countries. All refugees have the equal right to seek education, access to healthcare, work, housing and more. 

Based on the UNHCR’s recent Global Trends Report, over 82.4 million people got displaced last year amid the Covid19 pandemic. 160 countries closed their borders last year due to Covid, out of which, 99 countries in 2020 did not allow entry to refugees because of the ongoing pandemic.

Turkey is a country that holds the top position among nations providing asylum to refugees by hosting 3.7 million refugees followed by Columbia that hosts 1.8 million people. While Australia and Canada are countries that also provide a sizeable number of places annually.

According to UNHCR, around 878,000 Rohingya refugees live under inadequate conditions after the Myanmar coup displaced them and 5.7 million Palestinians have gotten displaced as per the 2020 report due to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.

Also Read:  Father's Day 2021: Simple tips to nurture your paternal bond shared by life coach, Samira Gupta

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