Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Co-Chairmen Commemorate World Refugee Day
Washington – Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission co-chairmen James McGovern (D-MA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) issued the following statement marking the 14th annual World Refugee Day on June 20, reiterating the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) theme of the year that “One family torn apart by war is too many."
“The international community must do more to prevent conflicts that give rise to massive humanitarian crises and to develop effective and timely solutions when such conflicts do occur. Each of these statistics represents an individual or a family ripped from their homes and facing an uncertain future. The scale of human suffering reflected in these sobering figures demands our collective attention.”
According to UNHCR, by the end of 2013 there were over 51 million refugees and internally displaced people (IDP) around the world — a new 20-year high (since the 1994 Rwandan genocide). Recent refugee data for 2012 showed that every 4.1 seconds one person was forcibly displaced either as a refugee or an IDP. Conflicts, disputes and outright war such as those in Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colombia, Iraq and Burma have contributed to the growing number of internally displaced persons.
The bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was established in the U.S. House of Representatives to educate Members of Congress on human rights issues and advocate on behalf of human rights defenders world-wide.