World Refugee Day 2013

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It is a priceless blessing to bask in the freedom to live; the provision to basic amenities of a home; reliable protection; access to transportation.

In practice, not everyone is as fortunate as us; millions of refugees migrate for reasons of safety or civil rights from their own country. They are usually in danger of losing their life. Humanities basic rights and safety are at risk. They leave because of the exposure to war, danger or the threat of imprisonment to themselves or their loved ones. They have no choice but to leave if they want to continue to live. Driven into a state of depression, starvation and fear, many refugees, from women to children inclusive, have to live in the poorest conditions and are even forced to seek asylum in different areas. This certainly is distressing as refugees have often been misunderstood or largely ignored by the international community therefore, attracting little of the public's attention.

Reports today have expressed concern of the fragility of the refugee experience underlined by situations in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and Syria, causing 7.6 million people to became refugees in 2012; the total number now greater than at any time since 1994. In light of this and other similar cases, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has specially chosen 20th June as the World Refugee Day to globally express the concern of societies towards such vulnerable groups and assist them to begin their lives afresh.

It is through little things and very personal anecdotes which often define a magical turning point when refugees who may have spent years or even decades in flight and in refugee camps suddenly realize that a new better life has just begun. As young people comprise a growing percentage of the total number of refugees in the world, we at World Assembly of Youth (WAY), join other organizations on this day in acknowledging refugees as well as aid officials from all around the world.

We extend our encouragement, support and respect to their strength to sustain, persist and struggle against suffering.

We call upon partners to assist us in improving collaboration between humanitarian and development actors at all levels. Such partners will prove beneficial in order to assist in becoming involved in areas where there is a clear link to economic growth. Indeed, if refugees could be seen as 'agents of development' rather than as burdens.

In order to implement this, we believe the first step would be to see refugees as agents of change and being able to fulfill their potential. This can only be achieved by involving government ministries, international organizations and international dialogues. Bringing forth the issue will require that development actors at all levels be informed to the fact that refugees require wider engagement by the stakeholders.

During the development of initiatives, targeted development assistance should be united to promote refugee protection and durable solutions taking place on a bilateral level, an inter-regional level, or a multilateral level.

However, we have confidence that a multilateral dialogue provides a context within which an overarching discussion of 'best practices' could take place and basic principles agreed upon in order to assist these people meet their basic needs.

Happy World Refugee Day!