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World Refugee Day 2009

About Us

JUNE 20, 2009: World Refugee Day 2009

"Real People, Real Needs" - refugees are individuals with real needs, just like you and me.

For the 42 million uprooted people around the world, a shortage or lack of the essentials of life - clean water, food, sanitation, shelter, health care and protection from violence and abuse - means that every day can be a struggle just to survive.

Real People, Real Needs

This year, with the world economic crisis threatening to slash aid budgets and amid enormous global uncertainty, we need to ensure refugees are not forgotten. That's why the theme for this year's World Refugee Day on June 20 is "Real People, Real Needs."

Of the millions of people forcibly displaced by conflict, persecution and natural disasters, every one has a story to tell; they are real people, just like you and me, and they have real needs. But, despite the best efforts of UNHCR and many others, many of these basic needs are far from being met.

A comprehensive assessment of the needs of refugees and other people cared for by the UN refugee agency revealed that 30 percent were unmet - a third of them in basic and essential services. Improvements in nutrition and water supplies, access to primary health care, strengthened child protection programmes, better protection for women from sexual violence and abuse, and improvements in living conditions and sanitation facilities are just some of the needs that are not being met worldwide.

This World Refugee Day we ask you to remember the millions of forcibly displaced and stateless people under our care who are struggling with their day-to-day lives. One thing connects them all: basic needs that must be met so they have a chance to rebuild their lives.

How You Can Help

Transitions - an Iraqi Refugee Album

Transitions CD coverIraqi refugees have released an album of peaceful and uplifting music for World Refugee Day. All proceeds from the sale of their music will be used to help other Iraqi refugees.

World Refugee Day 2009 Photo Galleries

Millions of people have been forcibly displaced around the world and each has a story to tell. The World Refugee Day 2009 photo galleries help to show the human story behind the headlines. This year, they focus on three areas; Afghanistan, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Chad. The photo galleries feature images from Zalmaï and Christian Als.




On this World Refugee Day, let us remember that refugees too are real people with real needs. Helping them to rebuild their lives and their communities benefits us all.

High Commissioner António Guterres

The High Commissioner's 2009 World Refugee Day messagePlay video

The High Commissioner's 2009 World Refugee Day message

In his special World Refugee Day message, High Commissioner António Guterres warns that in these difficult economic times, "those of us who work with refugees are struggling more than ever to meet even their most basic needs."

World Refugee Day 2009 Posters

UNHCR has created a set of posters available to view and download to support World Refugee Day. The posters use beautiful images to depict the various needs faced by refugees and they reflect this year's World Refugee Day theme: "Real People, Real Needs."