Today marks World Refugee Day. We take a moment to recognize the courage of our brothers and sisters who fled the civil war in Liberia over 20 years ago and currently residing as exempted refugees in their respective settlements in the Southern and Eastern regions in Sierra Leone.
International World Refugee day is an occasion set aside to educate the general public on refugee issues of concern, mobilizing political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.
The day 20thJune is observed every year and set aside to engage stakeholders, governments and the global communities to underscore awareness about the overwhelming problems affecting refugees and how we can best tailor our support and responses for refugee persons of concern in the country– if they are to live a more dignified life. This day alone is a powerful advocacy tool in the entire refugee framework
Each year, World Refugee Day is marked by a variety of events in many countries around the globe including Sierra Leone in support of refugees. These activities are led by or involve the residual caseload of refugees themselves, government officials, host communities, companies, celebrities, school children and the general public, among others.
World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for the plight of the residual caseload in the country and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.
For this year’s activities; NaCSA is creating awareness raising for the residual caseload to locally integrate; including them into the national programme activities; enjoy free education and free medical healthcare, livelihood support like any other support granted to targeted vulnerable Sierra Leoneans
To all residual caseload of refugees in the country; I am continually deeply moved by your stories and inspired by your hope on this world refugee day. My staff and I pledge to do all we can to continue to include all locally integrated refugees into the country’s national development programmes; empower them to became self-reliant, respond to UNHCR Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework of the Global Refugee Forum
We have also developed better ways to mobilize support through advocacy with Civil Society Organizations and relevant line ministries for mainstreaming locally integrated refugees which is the most feasible durable option.
GOSL recognizes the rights, needs and dreams of the residual caseload of refugees in the country. Helping to mobilize political will and resources will not only help you cope but to also thrive to sustain their livelihood in the country. While it is important to protect and improve the lives of refugee persons of concern every single day, international days like World Refugee Day help to focus global attention on the plight of those fleeing conflict or persecution.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent anti-racism protests have shown us how desperately we need to fight for a more inclusive and equal world: a world where no one is left behind. Count everyone and contribute if giving a chance to include our refugee persons of concern live a resilience life. It has never been clearer that all of us have a role to play in order to bring about a change where everyone can make a difference. This is at the heart of the Government of Sierra Leone World Refugee Day campaign.
This year, we aim to remind the world that everyone, including refugees, can contribute to society and Every Action Counts in the effort to create a more just, inclusive, and equal world. What we want audiences to learn or be moved into feeling:
• Solidarity: We are in this together. And together we will find solutions and survive this pandemic as well as acknowledge the resilience of refugee persons of concern and their respective host communities
• Inclusion: Everyone Counts: Each of us can contribute if given the chance for our Refugee persons of concern
• Action: Our teams continue to serve where they are most needed. But UNHCR and NaCSA need your help to continue saving lives by providing safe space to people seeking asylum in the country in line with Sierra Leone established Refugee Act and other international standards.