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  • Nell Green

What you need to know about refugees in 2021

Today, June 20, is World Refugee Day

The United Nations originally designated the day to celebrate the strength and courage of people forced to flee their homes and countries to escape conflict or persecution.

This day recognizes the rights, needs and dreams of refugees.

Here is what you should know about refugees in 2021:

1) Who is a refugee?

A person forced to flee their country following persecution, war or violence is a refugee.

The United Nations defines refugees as people who fled their homes and countries due to "a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion."

2) How many refugees are there globally?

As of the end of 2020, 82.4 million people were forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order.

20.7 million of those forcibly displaced people are refugees and around half of them are under the age of 18.

Those who are forcibly displaced also include asylum seekers and internally displaced people (meaning they have not crossed into another country but have still had to flee their homes).

3) Where do refugees come from and where do they go?

68% of the world's refugees originated from just five countries: The Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar.

86% of the world's refugees are hosted in developing countries, places that are not economically or socially equipped to offer refugees opportunities to thrive—and often mere survival is difficult.

The five countries that host the greatest number of refugees are Turkey, Colombia, Pakistan, Uganda, and Germany.

4) How has the pandemic affected refugees?

While the global lockdown slowed the patterns of displacement, the biggest issue now is vaccine inequity.

Most of the developing countries hosting refugees are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to access vaccines. Add to that the fact that refugees are often in very remote and disadvantaged areas of these countries and delivering the vaccination there has additional, sometimes insurmountable, costs.

The slogan of the United Nationals Sustainable Development Goals is: "No one should be left behind." But according to the Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the risk of that happening is much higher now than it was a year and a half ago.

The Off Ramp is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to ending cyclical poverty and creating opportunities to thrive for those who are forcibly displaced.

The Off Ramp connects you with opportunities to make a real difference in the lives of forcibly displaced people both near and far. By partnering with The Off Ramp, you will see practical and positive change and know that you had a hand in making it happen.

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