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Number of people forced from their homes highest in 15 years

SALT LAKE CITY — More than 4.3 million displaced
people worldwide are desperate for better conditions and
better lives and have resorted to fleeing their countries’
violence to live in ragged, congested tents or attempting
to learn marketable skills to support their families.

June 20 marked the yearly celebration of World Refugee
Day, which coincides with African Refugee Day and is
intended to pique awareness around the world of the
plights and struggles of refuges. The theme for this year
was Refugees have no choice. You do.

“World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations
to honor the courage, strength and determination of women,
men and children who are forced to flee their homes under
threat of persecution, conflict and violence,” according
to the
U.N. Refugee Agency

“In its annual report this week, the U.N. Refugee Agency
said a record 800,000 people were forced to flee across
borders last year, more than at any time since 2000,”
according to the Voice
of America
. “The agency said those refugees were among
the 4.3 million people who were displaced last year,
largely because of humanitarian crises in Ivory Coast,
Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and other countries.”

World Refugee Day provides a platform for world support
and donation, which this year came in part from celebrity
Angelina Jolie, who made a sizable donation for the cause.

“On June 20, the Oscar winner donated $100,000 to the U.N.
Refugee Agency for its ongoing work with Syrian refugees,”
according to US
. “Donations to the agency provide protection,
shelter, clean water and life-saving assistance to
refugees around the globe.”

Despite efforts from refugee organizations and people like
Jolie, some are saying more must be done for the refugees
for them to overcome the tumultuous times in many of their

“The world is failing these people, leaving them to wait
out the instability back home and put their lives on hold
indefinitely,” said Antonio Guterres, the U.N. High
Commissioner for Refugees, in a written statement reported
by CNN.
“Developing countries cannot continue to bear this burden
alone, and the industrialized world must address this

In order for these refugees to be helped effectively, it
may first be necessary for more world education about who
these people are and what their conditions are like.

“I think there are two dramatic misperceptions (regarding
refugees),” Guterres said. “The first is the idea that all
refugees come into the north, into Europe, which is not
true … and the second perception is the inability to
distinguish what economic migration is — people
moving from one country to another because they want, and
that’s a very legitimate aspiration, a better life, and
what refugees are — those that are fleeing the
conflict and persecution, those that have no alternative
but to flee from their country.”

A recent compilation by the International Rescue Committee
offers insights into some of the world’s biggest refugee