United States Embassy Niamey
June 20, 201
World Refugee Day
Observed since 2001, World Refugee Day is commemorated each June 20 to salute the courage and resilience of the world’s refugees and displaced persons. This year’s commemoration comes as a record number of people, more than sixty million, are displaced inside and outside of their countries.
As Secretary of State John Kerry said, World Refugee Day “is a time to honor those who flee violence and persecution and those who help them on their journey.” Niger deserves special recognition on this day for continuing to host 54,000 refugees from Mali, as well as more than 280,000 displaced Nigeriens and Nigerians who have fled Boko Haram’s violence. The recent barbaric attacks by Boko Haram in the Diffa region are estimated to have displaced more than 50,000 people. It is a credit to the hospitality and the kindness of the Nigerien people that they so readily open their arms and homes to neighbors in a time of need.
The United States is committed to working with Niger to meet the needs of refugees and internally displaced people. The United States is the world’s largest single humanitarian donor, providing billions of dollars per year to provide millions of the world’s most vulnerable people with life-saving assistance. In Niger we work with nongovernmental organizations as well as with the government to meet the needs of refugees and displaced persons in Tillabery, Tahoua, Diffa, and Niamey.
The humanitarian crises around the world have made painfully clear that despite our best efforts, all nations must do more. That is why President Obama is hosting the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees on September 20 on the margins of the UN General Assembly. Potential participants are being asked to make new and significant contributions to humanitarian funding, increase opportunities for refugee resettlement and other pathways to admission, and expand opportunities for refugees to access legal employment and education opportunities around the world.
The United States is committed to doing more, and will be working tirelessly during the months ahead to marshal the world’s humanitarian will to find brighter futures for refugees everywhere.