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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2001 > June
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 20, 2001


World Refugee Day

The United Nations has designated June 20, 2001 as World Refugee Day to recognize the hardships and suffering, as well as the contributions, of the world's 26 million refugees and conflict victims, the majority of whom are women and children. Refugees flee their countries and often spend years in refugee camps until they can safely return home. In some cases, they are unable to do so and must be resettled in a third country.

The United States has long played a key role in providing assistance to refugees. The United States is the single largest donor to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Food Program, all of which provide critical, life-sustaining assistance to refugees and conflict victims. And the United States accepts more refugees for resettlement than any other country. Last year, more than 70,000 refugees were resettled in this country.

As Secretary Colin Powell recently pledged (May 25 in South Africa): "We will continue to build on America's proud tradition of leadership in meeting the needs of the world's refugees and displaced."

The United States is pleased to announce today, on World Refugee Day, additional funding of $46.5 million to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to protect and assist refugees worldwide. With the latest funding, the U.S.Government has contributed more than $220 million to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in FY2001.

At a time when millions of Afghans are at risk of starvation and when African refugees often receive less than the minimum daily calorie requirements, we call on the whole international community to live up to its humanitarian obligations and increase assistance to the world's refugees and conflict victims.


Released on June 20, 2001

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