A day to celebrate

First celebrated on June 20, 2001, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, World Refugee Day is a key moment in time to communicate with the world about who refugees are and why they require protection.

On World Refugee Day we celebrate refugees' contributions and seek to build empathy and understanding for their plight and their resilience to build a bright future.

1 billion

# of miles refugees travel each year to reach safety

A fresh start and a place to call home

This World Refugee Day, we celebrate Wandaka Musongera, a resettled refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) living in Austin, Texas. He's the Assistant Farm Manager at New Leaf Agriculture where he uses his passion for farming to feed his community during the coronavirus pandemic. 

50 Million+

# of refugees helped by UNHCR since 1951

Show your support and make a difference

behind the lens graphic

Join USA for UNHCR on Wednesday, June 17, at 12:00 p.m. EST, for our virtual event: Behind the Lens: A Celebration of Refugee Storytelling. Don’t miss your chance to meet the photographers behind the lens and hear their perspective on the power of photography in telling the refugee story. You can RSVP here.

The event will feature:

  • Lucian Perkins: two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and former staff photographer at The Washington Post, Lucian has covered wars and refugee crises around the world. More recently, his work focuses on resettled refugee communities in the U.S. 
  • Sebastian Rich: a long-time war and humanitarian photographer who has worked countless times with UNHCR, covering refugee crises around the world.
  • Anne-Marie Grey: Executive Director and CEO of USA for UNHCR

Communities across the United States and around the world will gather to commemorate World Refugee Day. Find an event near you, show your solidarity and stand together with refugees. 

Featured 2019 World Refugee Day Event:night time shot of empire state building lit up with blue lights

On June 20th, 2019, the Empire State Building was lit blue in honor of World Refugee Day. 

The international icon of the New York skyline, since 1976 the Empire State Building’s tower lights have maintained a tradition of changing color to recognize various occasions and organizations throughout the year. This year, USA for UNHCR partnered with the Empire State Building to light the iconic building blue in recognition of the strength and achievements of refugees worldwide.


states where people will be celebrating World Refugee Day!

"World Refugee Day is an expression of solidarity with people who have been uprooted from their homes by war or persecution . . . This not about sharing a burden. It is about sharing a global responsibility, based not only the broad idea of our common humanity but also on the very specific obligations of international law.” 


–António Guterres, UN Secretary-General 

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