Today, we commemorate World Refugee Day, which provides an important opportunity to highlight the plight of the millions of refugees worldwide who have been forced from their homes and fled their countries to escape war, repression, or persecution. It is also a day to honor their courage and resilience in the face of extraordinary adversity and to thank the brave humanitarians, including especially those working for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, who risk their own lives and safety to protect and support refugees wherever they are.
Globally, there are more than 15.4 million refugees. This must galvanize us to redouble our efforts to safeguard the rights of refugees, including ensuring that they are not forcibly returned to places where their lives or freedoms could be threatened and assist them in their efforts to rebuild. And, while the international community is rightly focused on those impacted by the conflict in Syria, including the over 1.6 million people forced to flee their homeland, we must remember the plight of the millions of other refugees around the world from Afghanistan to the Horn of Africa and Burma and continue to provide them the needed support.
Whenever possible, the international community works to return refugees to their homes in safety and dignity. Many refugees all over the world are able to return to their homes, but some must resettle in other countries when returning is not an option. On this World Refugee Day, the United States calls on all nations to intensify efforts to ensure refugees around the world can lead lives of dignity and opportunity in a lasting home.
Cross posted at U.S. Mission UN