World Refugee Day

Written by
Dr Ayub Macharia

The day is celebrated every 20th June. It was proposed by the UN on 4th December 2000. The day commemorates the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees. It was previously marked as African Refugee Day. Globally there are millions of displaced people of which majority are in Africa. Many of these refugees are internally displaced. The leading African countries with refugees are Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Eritrea, Angola and Ethiopia all largely due to war. Kenya presently hosts over 200,000 refugees from neighboring countries.

 Kenya experienced internal displacement of people during the early 1990s and 2007 as a result of tribal crashes and post election skirmishes that affected parts of the Rift Valley and Coast Province. The displacement of people brings problems such as collapse of the agricultural sector, migration to urban areas, poverty, congestion, poor health, insecurity, increased dependence and environmental degradation. The refugees are denied access to education’s social and cultural stability and to basic freedoms.

 Suggested activities

  • Compose songs, poems and drama about the refugee problems.
  • Visit the museum and look for exhibits of war and peace. Watch a film on war and conflicts.
  • Give donations to assist the refugees such as clothes, shoes, buys blankets, tents, cooking utensils, grains etc.
  • Visit a refugee center near you and observe the challenges they face in life. An expert can discuss about his/her experiences with the refugees. Encourgae refugees to participate in rehabilitation of the environment for instance in planting trees.
  • Initiate peace negotiations to stop wars and to allow the displaced people to go back home.
  • Write an essay or summary notes on how you celebrated the Refugee Day. Publicise your success on this blog.

 For further information, Contact

United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) (

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