Gambia marks World Refugee Day

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Gambia Commission for Refugees (GCR) in partnership with UNHCR and The Gambia Food and Nutrition Association (GAFNA), Thursday commemorated 2019 World Refugee Day at Bwiam, Foni Kansala District.

The theme for this year’s event is: #Take a Step with Refugees.

Deputy Director General of The Gambia Immigration Department, Hulay Jallow said the 2017 UN refugee agency’s annual global trends study report revealed that there are 68.5 million refugees and others forcibly displaced persons around the globe.

“25.4 million are said to be refugees and 85% are found in developing nations like The Gambia. The report also indicates that these people do not move by choice, but they were rather forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict or persecution,” she said.

Madam Jallow said the theme for the commemoration is a challenge and an inspiration, saying besides being challenged to take a step with refugees, they are also inspired to do whatever they can, either big or small in solidarity with the refugees within their territory.

Sekou K. Saho, head of UNHCR country office said the commemoration reminds people all over the world to think about refugees, who are in camps, in towns and in cities where they have found safety.

“The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million in 2018 and this is the highest level that UNHCR has seen in its almost 70 years of existence,” Mr. Saho said.

He said there are still too far resettlement places for refugees who need them, pointing out that funding levels are slow while some countries are introducing restrictions that are hurting refugee access to asylum. “But many generous countries and communities are still welcoming refugees and asylum seekers,” he added.

Yusupha J. Gomez, executive director GAFNA said commemoration of the World Refugee Day demonstrates the strong bond of partnership and support between UNHCR and other development partners in their drive to make refugees residing in The Gambia feel at home since their arrival.

“It is evident that majority of these refugees face enormous challenges ranging from livelihood, health and social protection after departing their country of origin in emergency situation,” he said.

Author: Fatou B. Cham