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Message from UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie on World Refugee Day 2012

News Stories, 20 June 2012

UNHCR believes even 1 person forced to flee is too many. And it's true. Every individual refugee matters. Each has their own story. Each has suffered and survived more than I could ever bear. And yet, they rise up to live another day.

We risk forgetting the individual when we speak in numbers, but the numbers tell an important story. In the past year 4.3 million people have become displaced. There are still 2.7 million refugees from Afghanistan. 12 million people are stateless. And for the fifth consecutive year the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide exceeded 42 million.

Sadly, a person who becomes a refugee is likely to remain one for many years – often stuck in a camp or living precariously in the city of a developing nation. 70 per cent of refugees under UNHCR's protection have been in this situation for more than five years. Their safety and well-being depend on the continued generosity of those countries who have kept their borders open to refugees, and on the vital efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance wherever and whenever it is necessary.

Unfortunately, the world is producing displaced people faster than it is producing solutions to displacement. And the solutions are not exclusively humanitarian – they are also political. The international community should rededicate itself to preventing conflict, addressing it when it erupts, and solving it more quickly, for that is the only way to create durable solutions for the refugees whose strength inspires us on this World Refugee Day.

Angelina Jolie, 20th June 2012

UNHCR is grateful to Ms. Jolie for a new donation made today of $100,000 (US) for our work in helping Syrian refugees



Conflict in Syria has so far forced thousands of Syrian refugees to cross borders in search of safety. Help us to protect them.

Central African Republic Emergency

Fearing for their lives, hundreds of thousands of families in the Central African Republic have fled their homes, many having witnessed brutal violence. Help us to protect them.

South Sudan Emergency

Violence in the areas bordering Sudan has driven around 201,000 refugees into South Sudan in search of safety. Give refugees hope.

Mali Emergency

Thousands of Malian refugees and IDPs have been forced to abandon their homes in the hope of finding safety in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania. Help us to protect them.

Global Mid-Year Trends Report 2013

2013 was a year of crises, disasters and emergencies. How many refugees were there in the world? See the international facts and figures.