The Department of Home Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency will commemorate the World Refugee Day at the Pan-African Parliament (Midrand) on 20 June.
In line with the African Union 2019 theme “Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa,” the above institutions are jointly organizing a panel discussion focusing on the positive contribution that refugees are able to make in their new societies if they receive initial support from various stakeholders.
The concerned parties include governments, international organizations, civil society, faith based organizations, host communities and private sector in the spirit of Global Compact on Refugees. The panel discussion will offer the opportunity for various stakeholders to share their knowledge and experience as well as highlight challenges and progress made.
The PAP President, the Rt. Hon. Roger Nkodo DANG says the day presents an opportunity for leveraging reflections vis a vis legislation; the principal role of the continental Parliament which requires PAP Parliamentarians to ensure member-states adopt legal frameworks that protect the rights of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“I implore all stakeholders to be part of this effort with which our continental Parliament, and partners endeavour to further seek to better understand our roles in strengthening and consolidating efforts to protect refugees. This is central to PAP’s law-making role as well as Parliaments’s contribution to the AU theme for 2019,” says Hon.Dang.
The host country, South Africa, is home to over 88 000 active refugees excluding asylum seekers and other forms of migrants that are a concern to UNHCR. Over the recent years, significant strides have been made by the government to improve services and access to the centers where the refugees are served. These interventions include amongst others, self services and enhanced internationally recognized security features of the refugee travel documents, to ensure that refugees are able to take their rightful place amongst citizens of the world.
World Refugee Day is celebrated annually to honour the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homes under threats of persecution, conflict and violence. There are more than 68.5 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, of which 1/3 are Africans.
This year’s commemorative event will be graced by the triple Grammy Award winning Soweto Gospel Choir performance alongside Gihozo, a cultural group formed by Rwandan refugees.
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