#WithRefugees Petition Delivery Kicks off UN General Assembly Week

September 16, 2016

High commish

Today at 1pm EDT, the #WithRefugees petition will be delivered to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, concluding a three-month global campaign to raise awareness about the refugee crisis.

The petition delivery comes just days before the UN General Assembly Summit for Refugees and Migrants and Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, hosted by President Obama. These high-level meetings seek further commitments from governments and the private sector to support the more than 65 million forcibly displaced people worldwide.

Joining Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at the ceremony will be UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, model and former refugee Alex Wek, UNHCR Supporter Ben Stiller, who will lead a recitation of the petition, and Yusra Mardini from Syria and runner Yiech Pur Biel from South Sudan, both members of the 2016 Refugee Olympic Team, who will speak in support of the petition. Emtithal Mahmoud, 2015 World Slam Poetry Champion will recite her poem, Boy in the Sand, her ode to Alan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian found washed ashore in Turkey last year.

‘’We are in a period of deepening conflict and turmoil in the world, which is causing many more people to flee their homes than before,” said Grandi. “It affects and involves us all, and what it needs is understanding, compassion and political will to come together and find real answers for the refugee plight. This has become a defining challenge of our times.”

More than 1.3 million people signed the #WithRefugees petition which calls on governments and heads of state to act with solidarity and shared responsibility to address the refugee crisis. Specifically, the petition asks governments to protect refugee access to education, to ensure all refugees have a safe place to live and to ensure refugees have a right to work and an ability to learn new skills.

You can watch the petition delivery live at 1pm on Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter @UNRefugeeAgency and on Facebook/UNrefugees for more coverage.