The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Wednesday launched a new global campaign to rally support and firm commitments from nations to protect the rights of people fleeing conflict, violence and persecution.
Hope Away from Home gets underway at a time of unprecedented, forced displacement.
There are a staggering 110 million people displaced from their homes, and access to asylum and protection is under threat in various regions due to increasingly harsh policies.
“People fleeing war, violence and persecution should be met with compassion and kindness, not barriers, restrictions and discrimination, which should have no place in today’s world,” said Elizabeth Tan, Director of UNHCR’s Division of International Protection.
“They need safety and protection, and it is the responsibility of the international community to come together to find lasting solutions that allow them to live in safety and dignity.”
According to UNHCR, in many places, anti-refugee sentiments, externalization of asylum obligations, growing discrimination and xenophobia, and stricter admission policies are endangering the fundamental right to seek safety.
Moreover, the absence of safe and legal routes to asylum compels many to undertake perilous journeys, often across treacherous land and sea routes in search of safety.
While many nations and communities generously welcome and protect refugees, helping them to rebuild their lives and contribute positively to their host societies, it is crucial for more States to follow suit, said UNHCR.
Solidarity with other nations is essential, particularly low and middle-income countries that receive the majority of refugees.
The campaign aims to translate global solidarity into tangible action and solutions — promoting international cooperation, legal reforms, and policy reform.
Over the next three years, UNHCR and its partners will advocate for law and policy changes in five key areas: access to safe territory and protecting individuals from harm during their journey; guaranteeing adequate conditions and treatment for refugees; encouraging countries to accede to the Refugee Convention; and increasing access to durable solutions, including resettlement.
Countries will also be urged to provide support to under-resourced nations and communities hosting large refugee populations.
“Many States are showing commendable solidarity in welcoming people who have been forced to flee, despite their own domestic challenges. But more needs to be done to support those communities that receive them,” said Dominique Hyde, Director of UNHCR’s Division of External Relations.
“With this campaign, there is an opportunity to do more in solidarity with millions of forcibly displaced people and the communities hosting them, by focusing on our shared humanity and working together to find solutions.”
The campaign also includes a global call for petitions from the public, organizations, and world leaders to stand in solidarity with refugees and their right to seek safety from conflict, violence, and persecution.
Global Refugee Forum
The launch of the campaign coincides with the 100 day countdown to the Global Refugee Forum (GRF), a major international gathering, in Geneva, that will bring together world leaders, civil society organizations, international institutions, and other stakeholders to seek solutions for refugees and host communities.