Civil society stands #WithRefugees

June 20 marks the day when the world comes together to commemorate the bravery and resilience of the millions of refugees who were forced to flee due to war, persecution and natural disasters. With the latest United Nations (UN) figures revealing a record 65.6 million displaced in 2016, and one person forced to leave their homes every three seconds, the call as never been stronger for the world to stand #WithRefugees. Find out about some of the ways in which global civil society has been responding to that call.

2017: Where do we stand #WithRefugees?

"Today we live in a world in which uncertainty often abounds; economic instability, political upheaval and violence close to home can make us want to shut our eyes or close our doors. But fear and exclusion will not lead us to a better place - they can only lead to barriers, alienation and despair."

This was the message from Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who added "it is time to change this path".

The UN Refugee Agency's annual Global Trends report was accompanied by a video highlighting five facts about people forced to flee:

 

 

As of June 14, it is believed that 1,828 refugees have died trying to reach Europe in 2017, according to the International Migration Organization, with 95% of deaths occurring in the Mediterranean Sea between Libya and Italy.

In an attempt to reduce these shocking figures, the Red Cross unveiled "Virtual Volunteer" - a mobile application that uses geolocalisation to provide refugees and migrants from Italy with information and services such as medical, psychological and legal assistance.

"Information saves lives. Ensuring that people can access unbiased, factual information has a big impact," Italian Red Cross President Francesco Rocca said.

 

 

Deconstructing refugee misrepresentations

The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) released a video clip aimed at challenging received ideas about refugees — providing a reminder that although focus is often maintained on the migratory crisis in Europe, the continent in fact hosts just 6% of the world's refugees:

 

 

In a similar vein, the International Crisis Group has dispelled the notion of refugees as mere victims, conducting year-long field research with some of the more than 327,000 displaced people in Burundi to produce a report highlighting the role they continue to play in confronting the country's problems by making their voices heard.

 

 

Culture and community unite in support of refugees

In recognition of World Refugee Day, Amnesty International and Sofar Sounds announced a new series of concerts, "Give a Home", which will feature thousands of musicians such as The Naked and Famous, James Morrison and Rudimental playing in people's homed across 200 cities. The idea behind this day, launching on 20 September 2017, is to bring the music community together to celebrate the equality and dignity of all human beings, all the while raising funds to support the work of the organization documenting the human rights abuses that threaten this.

 

 

Where does the ICC come into all this?

 

 

As the global refugee crisis continues, the ICC plays a crucial role in strengthening laws that seek to protect the human rights of refugees and internally displaced persons.

Several ICC situations consider the forcible transfer of populations as a crime, and in 2017, ICC judges began trying former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen for attacks directed against internally displaced persons’ camps in northern Uganda. In issuing judgments that affect refugee and internally displaced communities, the ICC can influence the way both origin and receiving states recognize the human rights of their vulnerable groups.

Read on to learn how the ICC can help displaced people.