Refugees need us more than ever before, says the representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cyprus Damtew Dessalegne, stating that we need to combat xenophobia and intolerance collectively. It is the responsibility of everyone, and especially the political leaders, to challenge those who demonize refugees, those who view diversity as a threat, and those who incite hatred for the “others”. In Cyprus, the biggest problem is that refugees and asylum seekers are not relying enough to integrate into society and that our legislation should be revised in several respects.
What does World Refugee Day mean for you?
It is celebrated each year on June 20, following a decision by the UN General Assembly to dedicate one day a year to the millions of refugees living among us who have experienced violence, persecution, discrimination, seeking security and protection in every corner of the earth. It is a time to recognize those communities and people around the world who accept refugees by offering them a safe place, welcoming them to schools, workplaces and their societies. This includes Cyprus.
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