Despite grim realities, World Refugee Day marked by refugee resilience

By Oxfam

Ahead of World Refugee Day, Oxfam expressed deep concern for the increase in the numbers and suffering of forcibly displaced people in the world and called on the Trump administration to reverse its cruel policies intended to turn America’s back on the most vulnerable among us.

Oxfam also expressed alarm at the Global Trends report from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which showed an increase in the number of forcibly displaced people in the world.

“It’s deeply concerning that the number of forcibly displaced people has increased for the eighth year in a row to yet another record level,” said Noah Gottschalk, Oxfam America Humanitarian Policy Lead. “In addition to the violence, persecution, and hardship that refugees and other displaced people around the world are fleeing, many are now also facing the threat of COVID-19 pandemic in overcrowded camps and host communities without sufficient access to clean water or healthcare.”

Many people fleeing their homes have been left stranded by pandemic-related travel restrictions. Here in the US, the Trump administration’s cynical decision to exploit the crisis as a pretext to fulfil its longstanding agenda of suspending humanitarian protections at the US-Mexico border has left tens of thousands of people in harm’s way.

“Over the past three years, we’ve watched the Trump administration wage an all-out assault against our country’s legacy as a safe haven for people fleeing persecution, and such attacks have only increased with the pandemic,” continued Gottschalk. “On a day meant to honor and celebrate the lives and contributions of refugees, we urge the Trump administration to uphold our nation’s founding ideals by ceasing and reversing its harmful attacks against people seeking nothing more than the opportunity to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity.”

Despite being forced to face closed borders, xenophobic politicians, and layer upon layer of additional hardship, refugees in the US and around the world continue to respond with hope and resilience. From supporting healthcare workers and Black Lives Matter activists in Seattle with fresh meals to helping to design new handwashing stations in Bangladesh, the courage and innovation of refugees knows no limits.

"Today, Oxfam joins people across the US and around the world in recommitting to support and protect refugees and celebrating the myriad ways they enrich the communities in which they live," said Gottschalk.

Oxfam is working around the clock with communities, local partners, women and refugee-led organizations in more than 50 countries to deliver much needed humanitarian assistance and curb the spread of COVID-19. This includes work with refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) around the world, including supporting Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia, and displaced people in the Central African Republic.

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