New York, US (PANA) - The UN on Wednesday marked the World Refugee Day by focusing on the more than 42 million people worldwide who have been forcibly displaced from their homes, and raising awareness of the dilemmas facing this vulnerable group of people.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message to mark the Day, which is observed
annually on 20 June, that, ``refugees leave because they have no choice. We must choose to help."
He stated: "The high numbers of refugees represent far more than statistics, they are individuals and families whose lives have been upended, whose communities have been destroyed, and whose future remains uncertain''.
The UN chief stressed the need to work together to mobilize the political will and leadership to prevent and end the conflicts that trigger refugee flows.
``And where security is restored, it is vital to address the underlying causes of conflict, allowing sustainable refugee return through access to livelihoods, services and the rule of law,'' he added.
Earlier this week, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released its Global Trends 2011 report, which updates the number of people of concern to the agency, including refugees, asylum seekers, the stateless and internally-displaced people.
It showed that a record 800,000 people were forced to flee across borders last year, more than at any time since 2000. The new refugees are part of a total of 4.3 million people who were newly displaced last year, owing to a string of major humanitarian crises that began in late 2010 in Cote d'Ivoire and followed by others in Libya, Somalia, Sudan and elsewhere.
The focus for UNHCR this year will be in Brazil, where the High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, will be spending World Refugee Day in Rio de Janeiro at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
UNHCR is also marking the Day by rolling out a new campaign, called: ``Dilemmas'', which depicts some of the tough choices facing refugees, helping the public to empathize with, and understand their dilemma.
It is being supported in special television spots by UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie and other celebrities, including some of the agency's many Goodwill Ambassadors.
UNHCR has also developed a free smart-phone application, a role playing game called 'My Life as a Refugee,' to support the campaign on various digital platforms around the world.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 20June2012