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Message from Secretary General Almagro in Commemoration of World Refugee Day

  June 20, 2018

Today we commemorate World Refugee Day.

There are nearly 70 million people who have been forcibly displaced around the world as a result of persecution, conflict or generalized violence. Their precarious situation makes them more vulnerable. Many of these people have seen their most basic human rights violated.

Human decency demands that we protect them, aid them, help them. But so does international law. We must not forget that. And we must not allow others to forget it.

Among the displaced are 20 million people protected as refugees who have found safety and security through the generosity of the governments and communities that received them, often sharing scarce resources to put in place humanitarian responses.

The Americas as a region is not immune to displacement challenges. I am grateful to countries in the region for providing protection to Venezuelans and many others from other countries who have been forcibly displaced from their countries of origin.

The Organization of American States is working closely with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and Panama by improving the protection for persons forcibly displaced by violence in the countries in northern Central America.

The member states and the OAS, moreover, are making an important contribution to the international efforts to forge a Global Pact on Refugees, fostering better responses to refugee situations in the Americas and around the world.

Today we stand in solidarity with the children, women and men - many of whom face life-threatening risks as asylum-seekers and refugees - to find protection and safety.

Supporting work with refugees is everyone´s duty.

Reference: S-035/18