June 20th was World Refugee Day, a day of awareness, remembrance and celebration for more than 19 million refugees and displaced persons around the globe. For years, many nations held their own refugee days and in 2000, the U.N designated June 20th of every year as World Refugee Day. In 2004, our Governor Dirk Kempthorne, also proclaimed June 20th to be Refugee Day in Idaho and special events do take place in honor of this day. But the general public seems to be unaware or uninterested about this. Yet the public cannot be blamed for their ignorance when there is such a lack of effort made by local newspapers and governments to inform about or even recognize World Refugee Day. Unfortunately there are but few people who know of the current refugee crisis or the difference between refugees, immigrants and illegal aliens and even fewer people are aware of the refugees here in Idaho. Throughout the last five years, 1,875 refugees found their save haven in Idaho. Yet the number of
refugees allowed to enter has rapidly been decreasing as industrialized nations, such as us, continue to impose even stricter controls on asylum and immigration, and tighten security out of fear for terrorism and large numbers of illegal immigrants. As a result, fewer refugees are given a chance to rebuild their lives in the safety of our borders.
The refugee crisis is a serious, growing and world-wide problem that needs to be solved. In order to do so, the public needs to be aware and educated about this problem. Refugees are victims who had to flee their homes, abandon all they had and loved, due to causes entirely out of their control. Let's pause and think about the courage and strength of these people as well as those people out there in refugee camps who have not yet been able to find asylum or been able to return.
The same way we all remember and cherish our moms on mother's day, dads on father's day and soldiers on Memorial Day, we should recognize and remember the refugees and displaced on their day.