It’s Time to Stand #WithRefugees


By Alexandra Chitty

Are you wondering why your news and social media feeds are today teeming with disheartening or, more hopefully, uplifting posts about refugees? Well, that’s because today is World Refugee Day – a day designated by the United Nations “to commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees”.

Spotlight on the data

Shockingly, every minute 30 people are forced to flee their homes or countries – often only with the clothes on their back – to escape conflict, persecution or the legacy of natural/man-made disasters. Over half of these are children. A recent UNHCR report estimated that there are 25.4 million refugees globally, 13% more than in 2016. That means that refugees comprise 37% of the world’s displaced people.

A new, global deal

Given these statistics, the need for countries to support the Global Compact on Refugees – a framework and an accompanying programme of action that, together, seek to foster greater and more efficient cooperation among countries responding to large-scale movements of refugees – is clear. Indeed, this was Filippo Grandi’s, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, key message today. He also poignantly reminded the world that “No one becomes a refugee by choice; but the rest of us can have a choice about how we help”.

Building the evidence base

If we are to best tailor such support, understanding why people are forced to flee, what they experience during this process, and what effects this has at the individual, societal and global/international levels is crucial. Looking at this with an interdisciplinary lens is equally as salient. The London International Development Centre Migration Leadership Team (LIDC-MLT) was formed in late 2017 with this in mind. It facilitates global conversations that bring together researchers, policymakers and practitioners to review existing global migration research, identify significant research gaps, and to highlight and share best practice. So, watch this space!

Do your bit

Whether you work in the sector or not, why not consider adding your voice to a global petition calling on governments to ramp up their efforts to ensure that: refugee children have access to education, refugee families can live in safety, and refugee adults are able to provide for their families? You could also join the conversation on social media, via the #WithRefugees, #WRD2018, #WorldRefugeeDay and #RefugeeDay hashtags.

About the author

Alexandra Chitty is a research communications specialist who is currently supporting LIDC with a stunting-related research bid, a new membership strategy and its 2017-18 annual report. She is shortly taking up the position of Publications Manager at Malaria Consortium, and is writing this blog in a personal capacity.