Recognizing Our Common Humanity: World Refugee Day 2018

i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore

Warsan Shire

Today is World Refugee Day, held on the 20th of June every year the day is meant to commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of the millions of refugees forced to leave their homes.


1 person is forcibly displaced every two seconds

25.4 million people are refugees

40 million are displaced within their own country

5.6 million Syrian refugees are being hosted by neighboring countries

62 million Syrians are internally displaced

650 thousand Rohingya have fled Myanmar

15.4 thousand asylum seekers are awaiting the processing of their claims in camps on greek islands

Only 100 thousand refugees have been resettled around the world

The numbers are staggering. The impact on families is immeasurable. The harm caused to children is unacceptable.

The Current Situation

In Syria there is a lost generation, children who have been born into conflict, who have grown up knowing nothing else. Childhoods are lost, education denied, and the future unknown.

In Pakistan, Rohingya refugees from Myanmar fear forced repatriation to a country from which they fled, whilst also facing deadly conditions in the refugee camps where they have been placed.

In Greece, thousands of asylum seekers are trapped in camps with few resources, awaiting the processing of their asylum claims. An estimated 34,361 have died trying to reach Europe.

The Impact on Children

Over 50% of refugees are under the age of 18. Children who should be in school, and playing with their friends. Children who should not be worried about where their next meal is coming from, where they will sleep tonight, and whether or not they will be forcibly separated from their parents who are only seeking to remove them from harms way.


When talking about refugees, word choice matters.

Refugees have fled their home because of a “well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”

Asylum seekers are those seeking refuge whose claim has not yet been evaluated.

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are those who are forcibly displaced within their own country.

Stateless persons do not have a recognized nationality and do not belong to any country.

Returnees are former refugees who have returned to their country.

All of the above are humans.









We have a shared responsibility as a global community to ensure that refugees are not dehumanized and demonized.

We need to recognize our common humanity, and reach out in solidarity.

About the Author: 

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-1-49-53-pmKate Seaman is the Assistant Director to the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace where she supports the research activities of the Chair. Kate is interested in understanding normative changes at the global level and how these changes impact on the creation of peace.

For more information about Kate: Twitter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *