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World Refugee Day - June 20


WRD logo2013 has been an unprecedented year for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Conflicts in Syria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan, amongst others, have pushed the UNHCR and its partners to their limits. Each day global headlines talk about the harrowing effect of war on millions of families and individuals. Against this backdrop the UNHCR is responding by demonstrating, on the one hand, the heroic nature of refugee survival, and on the other hand, showing the universality of the refugee story.

This year for World Refugee Day 2014, the campaign will continue to emphasize the impact of war on families and place individual refugee family stories at the centre of our work. The call to action is: Join UNHCR and share your refugee story.

The 2014 WRD concept will allow individuals to tell stories about refugee courage and survival - as well as success stories of refugees re-starting their lives in a new country. It will allow the public to view the refugee experience through different experiences from people close to home. Theses efforts aim to remind the public of the strength and courage of refugees by inviting everyone to share refugee stories and tell us if they have one of their own. Through these individual testimonials we can highlight the universal emotions each of us would share if faced with the prospect of losing everything, starting from scratch, or safeguarding our family from violence. Since the concept of “family” varies around the world, we will focus on specific bonds between family members and loved ones.

For more information or to tell us about your World Refugee Day event please email stanleyl@unhcr.org or nyembwe@unhcr.org

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Events in Canada

View a list of events in Canada

Find out what your fellow Canadians are doing to celebrate World Refugee Day on June 20th and beyond.


Suggested Events and Activities

Various possible events and activities have been identified which highlight what can be done.


Get Involved!

Why hold a Refugee Day?

Establishing a World Refugee Day galvanizes public attention on refugees during one internationally recognized day. Each year the event will grow...


Share your refugee story

Everybody has a refugee story. It could be your own story or that of a family member or a friend. It could also be a story you heard about on TV or online. By sharing you can show support for those forced to flee.

Share your refugee story

About World Refugee Day

Often classified unfairly with economic migrants, refugees flee their country not for economic gain but to escape persecution, the threat of imprisonment and even threats to their lives. They need a safe haven where they can recover from mental and physical trauma and rebuild their hopes for a better future.

The intolerance that is often at the root of internal displacement and refugee flows is also present in some of the countries that refugees flee to. Instead of finding empathy and understanding, they are often met with mistrust or scorn.

On World Refugee Day, let's not forget that some day in the future any one of us could be knocking at a stranger's door hoping to find a safe and friendly shelter. We should extend refugees the same kind of welcome we would like to receive if we were in their position.

While most refugees want to go home, some cannot safely return. But wherever they are, refugees will always strive to pick up the pieces and start over. The courage and determination demonstrated during their darkest hours will serve them well in rebuilding a new life. On World Refugee Day, let us honour them for these qualities and recognise the richness and diversity they bring to our societies.

WRD 2014

World Refugee Day 2014 Canadians came together to celebrate the successes and contributions of refugees throughout our country. Click the link below to see the events that were held.

Download WRD 2014 Events (PDF)


2014 WRD Posters

Download English Posters (PDF)
Download French Posters (PDF)


2014 WRD Videos

Over twenty celebrities from around the world, including best-selling author Khaled Hosseini, Chinese superstar, Yao Chen, German actress Diane Kruger and Colombian pop music singer Juanes have released a series of 30 second videos supporting refugees and ahead of this year’s World Refugee Day on 20 June.

Watch celebrity videos on YouTube (opens in a new window)