June 20 is World Refugee Day. “On this day,” says U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Population Refugees and Migration Carol O’Connell, “The United States stands with refugees and the international community to support refugees, asylum seekers, and displaced persons worldwide:”
“There are sixty eight point five million people around the world who are displaced. Twenty eight million are refugees and asylum seekers and these are people who have had to flee their homes due to conflict violence and persecution.”
“The United States is the single largest provider of humanitarian assistance worldwide. Having provided more than 8 billion dollars in fiscal year 2018 alone, we are committed to continuing leadership and the humanitarian assistance to help those in need,”said Acting Assistant Secretary O’Connell.
Today, some of the most serious crises are occurring in Venezuela, Syria and across Africa. “In Venezuela, families are struggling every day to meet even basic needs,” said Acting Assistant Secretary O’Connell. “So until the political and the economic and the humanitarian crises are resolved, the U.S. stands with the international community to support not only Venezuelans in Venezuela, but also the region.”
In Syria, eight years into the crisis, 12 million persons are still displaced inside the country, she said:
“They're trying to find safety and protection. The United States is committed to continuing support for those people including the five point seven million refugees that had to flee the country.”
Finally, there are seven million refugees throughout the continent of Africa, and 17 million displaced persons. “We are working with countries who are host countries. We are also working with countries who are generating refugees,” said Acting Assistant Secretary O’Connell.
We do not, and cannot, do this alone. The United States works with international organizations like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as international NGOs to provide urgent lifesaving support to those in need.
“Our goal is to save lives and alleviate suffering, ensuring that vulnerable people are able to receive lifesaving assistance as close to home as possible.”
“On World Refugee Day we recognize the refugees themselves, people seeking asylum,” said Acting Assistant Secretary O’Connell. “We recognize donors. We recognize the host communities that welcome these people into their communities. And we recognize all the organizations and all the people around the world that come together to support the most vulnerable in their time of need.”