On this World Refugee Day, we pause to reflect on how far we have come over the last 60 years since the world’s first convention on refugees, and recommit ourselves to saving more refugees and survivors of conflict and persecution. Around the world, there are still over 15 million refugees who have been uprooted from their homes and forced to live in difficult and in many cases unacceptable conditions. As events in Syria, Libya, and Cote d’Ivoire evolve, we are reminded that refugee protection presents new and ongoing challenges that we must continually strive to meet.
The United States has a history of upholding human rights and humanitarian principles. For decades we have led the world in overseas support for humanitarian protection and assistance, and we have provided asylum and refugee resettlement for millions. In doing so, we show through example our dedication to basic human decency, to our responsibilities under international law, and – along with the rest of the international community – to ensuring refuge when innocent lives hang in the balance. We do this because our country’s values must be a critical component of our foreign policy.
On this World Refugee Day, the United States and the Obama Administration reaffirms these core values as we work to provide a safe haven to the world’s most vulnerable citizens – refugees.