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Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on World Refugee Day

United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
June 20, 2022

On World Refugee Day, we honor the strength, courage, and perseverance of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution.

This issue is personal to me. I spent over half of my 35-year career in the Foreign Service working on humanitarian and refugee issues. During my travels, I have met with families who fled their homes in search of basic needs: safety, a roof over their heads, clean water, and enough food.

In April of this year, I met women and children in Moldova and Romania who became refugees as a result of President Putin’s unprovoked, brutal war against Ukraine. I heard stories of tremendous pain and upheaval. I also heard stories of relentless courage and determination to carry on.

During my recent visit to Turkey, I met Syrian small business owners who escaped the brutality of the Assad regime. These inspiring Syrian refugees now manage successful restaurants that contribute to the Turkish economy. Due to the generosity of refugee-hosting countries like Turkey, refugees have been given a chance to rebuild their lives.

For the first time in history, more than 100 million people worldwide have been forced to leave their homes because of war, persecution, and violations of their human rights. The United States continues to welcome and resettle those seeking refuge, including nearly 74,000 of our Afghan allies this year.  We have committed to welcoming up to 100,000 displaced Ukrainian citizens and others fleeing Russia’s aggression; we have committed to expanding the resettlement of Central Americans; and we have committed to the protection of vulnerable LGBTQI+ refugees.

The United States is proud to be the world’s largest donor of urgently needed humanitarian aid for refugees, and we urge all donors and governments to expand their efforts to resolve the core drivers forcing millions to flee their homes. On World Refugee Day, and every day, we pause to remember that all people – no matter who they are or where they are from – have a right to live in safety.