World Refugee Day
Ann Kamunya is an international UN Volunteer with UNHCR in Ankara, Turkey, where she she joined as a UN Volunteer Associate Refugee Status Determination Officer in December 2016.
This is not Ann's first volunteer experience. Prior to Turkey, she served with UNHCR as a national UN Volunteer in Nairobi and then in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, delivering for refugees who had been forcibly displaced from their home countries due to war or persecution.
Since August 2017, close to 700,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, creating the world’s largest refugee camp in an area that was before a forest on the border with Myanmar.
According to UNFPA, more than half of the new arrivals are women and girls. To respond to the sharp increase in pregnant women, new mothers and newborns in need of care, five UN Volunteers are now serving with UNFPA in Bangladesh.
In its Global Trends report, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that there were 68 million forcibly displaced persons in the world at the end of 2017, half of whom were under the age of 18.
People leaving their homes for the unknown, in hope of finding a safer and more secure future, are often triggered by the ravages of war, famine, political instability and the deleterious effects of climate change.
Refugee children, the hope and future of Chad and the Central African Republic
Thousands of refugees from the Central African Republic fled to southern Chad since the end of 2017, many of whom lack food, shelter and access to medical care. They settled in more than 40 villages and four camps near the town of Goré – an area that already hosts around 43,000 refugees from the Central African Republic and 45,000 returnees from Chad, predominantly women and children.
Kakuma was founded in 1992 when large numbers of Sudanese and Ethiopian refugees poured into northern Kenya.
There are 500,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Kenya. Most of them live in two huge camps in the East and North of the country – Dadaab and Kakuma.
In January 2018, more than 185,000 refugees resided in Kakuma Refugee Camp. Residents of the camp suffer from a harsh, dry climate and a higher population than current capacities allow.
The number of asylum applications in Trinidad and Tobago by citizens of Venezuela is on the increase. In 2017, nearly 40,000 people applied for asylum.
In response, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is working to support countries throughout the Americas and the Caribbean, including Trinidad and Tobago, by engaging in registration and profiling of the population, reinforcing reception capacity of host communities, assisting with emergency preparedness and contingency planning, and providing basic humanitarian assistance.
"I am Chihiro Saito – international UN Volunteer from Japan serving with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Serbia. I work as Associate Field Officer in a team that responds to the refugee and migrant situation in the country. As part of my assignment, I visit Reception and Transit Centers where most refugees and asylum seekers are housed. I am responsible for ensuring asylum seekers’ basic social service needs are met and human rights respected. I have attained so much knowledge and experience working with asylum seekers and refugees.
My name is Jelena Maric Lukovic. I serve as national UN Volunteer Resilient Programming Assistant with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Republic of Serbia.
World Refugee Day marks the need to show support to refugees all over the world, to stand with them in their plight, and honour the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.
Andrea Marilyn Pragashini Immanuel: “Refugees bring with them their culture, traditions, history and a truckload of experience. They strive through unimaginable hardship, incomprehensible misery and through it all find the strength to smile. They have taught me perseverance, to never give up hope even when everything fails and to strive hard. They have taught me to appreciate life, peace and prosperity.