World Refugee Day: ADRA Honors Millions of Families and Children Who Flee From Conflict and Persecution

SILVER SPRING, MD (June 17, 2022) – The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) will commemorate World Refugee Day on June 20 and observe World Refugee Sabbath on June 18, by paying tribute to the plight of millions of families, women, children, and individual people who have been displaced by war, violence, persecution, and human rights abuses.

ADRA International joins the United Nations and communities around the world in raising awareness of the global refugee crisis. According to the latest United Nations Refugee Agency Global Trends Report, more than 100 million people were forcibly displaced around the world as of May 2022. The Ukraine conflict, which caused the fastest and one of the largest forced displacement crises since World War II, as well as emergencies in Africa and Afghanistan, and elsewhere pushed displacements to an all-time high.

“ADRA International salutes the courage and resilience of the millions of moms, young children, fathers, elderly people, and individuals forced to flee their homes to escape conflict or persecution. We recognize the generosity and humanity of host communities and countries, which frequently struggle with their own economies and security. ADRA remains committed and stands in unity and solidarity with the Adventist Church and trusted partners to continue to support and advocate for the global integration of refugees and displaced people with justice, compassion, and love,” says Michael Kruger, president of ADRA International. “Let’s observe World Refugee Day and World Refugee Sabbath, to instill empathy and devotion for helping vulnerable families to rebuild their lives.”

This year, ADRA mobilized emergency response teams and increased resources to assist the tens of thousands of refugees who fled into neighboring countries as a result of the Ukraine conflict. It is developing long-term programs to aid families and children in host communities across Europe.

Click here to view a video of a Ukrainian refugee family assisted by ADRA in Poland.

ADRA is also providing food, shelter, safe water, hygiene items, psychosocial support, and other essential services to displaced families in over 40 other countries, including Syria, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Brazil, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Uganda.

Fast Facts

  • Refugees are people who have been forcibly displaced from their home country due to persecution, war, or violence.
  • IDPs, or internally displaced persons, are people who leave their homes due to persecution, war, or violence but remain within their own country.
  • There are 48 million IDPs in the world.
  • Asylum seekers are people who seek international protection but whose refugee status has not yet been determined.
  • More than 4 million people are currently seeking asylum around the world.
  • Half of the world’s refugees are children.
  • Less than 1% of all refugees are ever able to resettle and start a new life in safety and security.
  • About 73% of refugees live in regions bordering their countries of origin.

The first World Refugee Day was held on June 20, 2001, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Every year, ADRA joins the Adventist Community to mark the anniversary with World Refugee Sabbath, which falls on June 18 this year.

“As the global humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, ADRA believes that refugees have the right to live their lives free of the shame of rejection and the shackles of persecution and war.

We encourage faith-based institutions, community members, and other organizations to protect and advocate for families fleeing danger and violence,” says Herma Percy, Ph.D., director of advocacy for ADRA International. “Open your hearts to refugees. Keep them in your prayers and create opportunities to help them integrate into society, gain confidence, and contribute to the host country.”

ADRA has created resources such as children’s stories, conversation guides, and even recipes to help broaden understanding of refugees and encourage faith-based groups, communities, and other organizations to get involved in addressing the global refugee crisis.  Download the materials by visiting ADRA.org/WorldRefugeeSabbath.

To donate or learn more about ADRA relief efforts for refugees and displaced people around the world visit ADRA.org.

Contact Iris Argueta at (301) 332-3880 or email Press@ADRA.org to arrange interviews with ADRA representatives about this story.

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About ADRA

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.

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