This World Refugee Day, we’re rising up in solidarity with the 120 million people around the world fleeing war and persecution.

Figures released by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, show that record numbers of people were uprooted from their homes last year – 40% of them children.

Conflict in Gaza and Sudan has created desperate humanitarian crises. Elsewhere, violence in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Yemen, the DR Congo and many other parts of the world continued. We have also seen reports of mass persecution in Iran and systemic oppression of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Many men, women and children escaping war and human rights abuses are forced to make dangerous journeys in search of safety. Most people seek sanctuary in neighbouring countries. A small number come to the UK, where they face hostile refugee policies that punish them for fleeing violence and oppression.

This World Refugee Day, we’re calling for a fair new plan for refugees.

With the General Election just around the corner, standing up for refugee rights is more important than ever. Too many men, women and children are stuck in the UK’s cruel and unjust asylum system.

Huge backlogs have trapped thousands of people in limbo. Separated from friends and family. Barred from working. Often waiting years for their asylum claims to be processed. Many people face homelessness. Others are living in unsuitable temporary accommodation, cramped hotel rooms and army barracks.

The current UK government says these cruel policies are what the British public want. In fact, polling by Together With Refugees shows that 80% of people in Britain want an asylum system that is well managed, fair and compassionate.

This is our chance to show politicians and the media that most people in Scotland want a better plan for refugees.

Fair Begins Here

Our CEO Sabir Zazai said: “Today, I am proud to call Scotland my home. My hope is that others fleeing war and persecution will receive the same warm welcome and have the same opportunities to rebuild their lives in safety. When people are given the chance to work, put down roots and play a part in their new communities, they help create a better, richer society for us all.

“Sadly, the current system isn’t working for refugees or local communities. We desperately need something better. By coming together to show our support for a fair new plan, we can make it clear to politicians from all parties that most people in Scotland are sick of division and cruelty. We want a kinder, fairer and more effective refugee system. The louder our voice becomes, the harder it will be for the next UK government to ignore.”

Each year, on 20 June, people around the world come together to celebrate the strength, courage and resilience of people who have been forced to flee their homes to escape conflict or persecution.

There are lots of ways that you can show your support this World Refugee Day.

What you can do

1. Speak out on social media on Thursday 20 June

Join people across the UK on World Refugee Day by sharing this picture on social media with a message of support and the hashtag #FairBegins Here. If you’re not sure what to write, use this suggested wording:

This #WorldRefugeeDay I’m calling for a fair new plan for refugees.

It’s time to come together to reject hostility & division & stand for something better. #FairBeginsHere

2. Join the Refugee Festival Scotland celebrations

Our Scotland-wide arts, culture and community festival runs until Sunday 23 June. The packed programme includes more than 150 events, exhibitions and activities taking place across the country. Take a look at what’s on.

3. Order some ‘Aye Welcome Refugees’ merch

Wear your heart on your sleeve with our classic blue t-shirt. Pick up a handy tote back in a range of eye-catching colours. Or jazz up water bottles, laptops and more with our stunning vinyl stickers. Visit our shop to get yours today.

4. Make a regular donation to help refugees in Scotland

Setting up a monthly donation is one of the best ways to support our work. It provides a reliable source of income, which helps us reach more people in need and allows us to continue providing refugees across Scotland with vital information, advice and practical support.


Rachel Lamb
Author: Rachel Lamb