Manila, Philippines – World Refugee Day observed on June 20 each year honors the courage, strength, and determination of women, men, and children who are forced to ﬂee their homeland. It recognizes the contributions of refugees in their communities and the work of host governments to provide assistance to refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a UN refugee agency is governed by the UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Refugees have been a constant and accepted part of human migration for centuries. They ﬂee their home countries due to fears of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, or for being a member of a social or political group. In the 19th century, the development of nation states and fixed borders caused countries to shun refugees and turn them into international exiles.
There are an estimated 11 to 12 million refugees in the world today, an increase from the 1970’s when there were less than three million refugees worldwide. In addition, there is a category of displaced people who are not ofﬁcially refugees because they have not left their own countries but have been displaced by persecution within their own country.
Life as a refugee is deﬁned by uncertainty for all. For the most part refugees are poor and seek refuge from a conﬂict or a repressive government, uncertain of their destination or if they will ever return home. Many countries recognize their duty to assist refugees and although not all are forthcoming in providing assistance, they nevertheless are hopeful that a large number of refugees will realize their goal of being able to return to the land of their birth and a life free from contradictions.
We greet the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees led by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, High Commissioner Antonio Guterres, Deputy High Commissioner T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Assistant High Commissioner for Operations Judy Cheng-Hopkins and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Erika Feller and other Ofﬁcers on the occasion of World Refugee Day nationwide as a Philippine holiday. The Manila Bulletin, led by its Chairman of the Board Dr. Emilio T. Yap, President and Publisher Atty. Hermogenes P. Pobre, Executive Vice President Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Cris J. Icban Jr., Business Editor Loreto D. Cabanes, and Ofﬁcers wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors. MABUHAY!