20 June World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day, established by the United Nations General Assembly and celebrated each year on 20 June, is a crucial time to reflect on the difficulties faced by refugees globally and to renew our commitment to their protection and reception.

At a time when the refugee crisis is one of the most urgent and complex humanitarian challenges, more than 100 million people have been forced to leave their homes due to conflict, persecution, violence and environmental disasters, seeking safety and hope in safer neighbouring areas or in other countries and continents, often facing dangerous journeys and putting their lives at risk.

As a civil society – and more broadly as an international community that has established conventions on refugee protection – we have a humanitarian and moral duty to support refugees and to create favourable conditions for their reception and integration. This means ensuring access to essential services such as education, health and employment opportunities, as well as promoting social inclusion and combating discrimination. And efforts must be intensified to prevent conflicts, promote human rights, fight persecution and manage environmental challenges.

LINK 2007 made concrete and articulate proposals, published and sent to the attention of institutions, for the governance of immigration and asylum and cooperation with countries of origin. It also proposed a national governmental conference, open to institutions and civil society organisations, to outline a new approach to migration policies and the management of refugees and asylum seekers.

As LINK 2007 has repeatedly argued, “it is necessary to address the reception of refugees and more generally the fact of migration not as a continuous emergency, but as a phenomenon that requires systematic and coordinated strategies”, points out LINK 2007 president Roberto Ridolfi who, commenting on the 17 June shipwreck in the Ionian Sea, highlights the silence of the institutions and the progressive inattention of the media.

On World Refugee Day, LINK 2007 renews its commitment. Only through collaboration between governments, institutions, humanitarian organisations and civil society can we build a dignified future for all the world’s refugees.

(LINK 2007 Communication)