World Refugee Day [June 20]: History, Theme, Significance

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jun 7, 2023, 10:43

World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 every year to express support and solidarity towards all refugees in the world. With the increase in refugees worldwide and the difficulties they face, it is important to learn more about their plight and take necessary actions. World Refugee Day aims to raise awareness about this issue.

The United Nations General Assembly officially designated this day in December 2000. In this article, we have shared further information about World Refugee Day, its theme, history, and significance.

World Refugee Day 2023

Every year, World Refugee Day commemorates the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, held in 1951. Established by the United Nations, this day was previously known as Africa Refugee Day. It is important to celebrate World Refugee Day because it highlights the conditions that the refugees live in and aims to improve them.

This day is also about admiring the resilience of refugees across the world, who are forced to move out of their home country and make a new home elsewhere. Find out some more details about World Refugee Day below.


World Refugee Day


June 20 (every year)


December 2000

World Refugee Day 2023 Theme

To be announced


To raise awareness about the conditions in which refugees live and to support them.

World Refugee Day 2023 Theme

Every year a new World Refugee Day theme is announced by the United Nations ahead of the annual celebration. This day is celebrated to commemorate the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and honor refugees worldwide. World Refugee Day 2023 theme is yet to be announced by the UN.

Following are the themes that were selected for International Refugee Day through the years.




To be announced


Whoever. Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to seek safety.


Together we heal, learn and shine.


#StepWithRefugees Take a Step on World Refugee Day.


Now More Than Ever, We Need to Stand with Refugees.


Embracing Refugees to celebrate our Common Humanity.


We stand together with refugees.


With courage let us all combine.


Migrants and Refugees: Towards a Better World.


Take 1 minute to support a family forced to flee.


1 family torn apart by war is too many.


1 refugee without hope is too many.


1 refugee forced to flee is too many.














Refugee Youth: Building the Future.





Refugee Day: Who are Refugees?

The world celebrated International Refugee Day every year to honor and support all refugees. But who are refugees and why do they need help? We have shared all that you need to know about refugees here.

  • Refugees are people who have escaped from their country, leaving behind their loved ones, jobs, and homes.
  • They've crossed national boundaries to find a safe place in another country and are unwilling to return to their homeland due to fear of mistreatment.
  • The fear leading to the fleeing can be due to violence, war, conflicts, persecution, etc.

Through World Refugee Day, we acknowledge the difficult conditions that refugees have faced and continue to face and offer them support and hope. Refugees are not considered a burden by the host countries. Rather, they are considered assets and strengths because they add up to the workforce of the host country and contribute to their economy.

World Refugee Day Facts

On World Refugee Day 2023, here are some facts about refugees:

  • There are 84 million people who have been forcibly displaced, all over the world
  • One million children were born as refugees
  • The largest number of refugees, which comes to 3.7 million people, are hosted in Turkey

World Refugee Day History

World Refugee Day was organized for the first time on June 20, 2001, to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to Status of Refugees. Refugees are considered people with admirable strength because they are often survivors of violence. They deserve help and support.

Recognized by the United Nations as an International day, World Refugee Day gives us a chance to acknowledge the strength of the refugees who fear for their lives and have managed to flee from the conflicts and persecutions of their own country.

World Refugee Day Significance

Refugee Day is observed in recognition and honor of refugees all over the world. Displaced from their native land to another country, they struggle to find shelter and livelihood. Better living conditions and safe and secure life are some of the other aspirations of these people.

  • World Refugee Day is important because it provides a platform to shed life on the struggles and issues these people face and encourages the general public to learn and contribute where they can.
  • International Refugee Day is an UN-recognised international day that celebrates the extraordinary struggle and courage of refugees worldwide.
  • Celebrating Refugee Day gives visibility, hope, and courage to all refugees of the world.

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FAQs on World Refugee Day

Q1. When is World Refugee Day celebrated?

World Refugee Day is celebrated on June 20 by many countries around the world. Refugee Day marks the day on which the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees was held in 1951. This day is also celebrated to express support and solidarity towards all refugees.

Q2. What is World Refugee Day 2023 theme?

The theme of World Refugee Day 2023 is yet to be announced by the United Nations. Every year, a new theme is announced for Refugee Day, based on which the celebrations take place worldwide.

Q3. What was World Refugee Day originally called?

World Refugee Day was earlier known as Africa Refugee Day. In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly renamed Africa Refugee Day as World Refugee Day. It also designated June 20 as the day to celebrate Refugee Day annually.

Q4. How is World Refugee Day celebrated?

Every year on World Refugee Day, governments, organizations, and people conduct various events to support refugees such as donation camps, etc. These events also involve government officials, celebrities, and the refugees themselves.

Q5. What was the theme of World Refugee Day 2021?

The World Refugee Day 2021 theme was “Together we heal, learn, and shine”. This theme revolved around motivating everyone to make efforts together in combating the pandemic that the world was facing in 2020-2021. This was also a reason behind the theme of World Refugee Day 2021.

Q6. Which country shelters the largest number of refugees in the world?

The single country to host the largest number of refugees is Turkey. In the last ten years, no other country has been able to protect refugees better than Turkey. World Refugee Day is an occasion where events are organized to support these refugees.

Q7. What is the biggest refugee crisis of modern times?

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has caused more than 3 million people to leave their homes and seek shelter in other countries. This is the biggest refugee crisis of modern times. World Refugee Day is an occasion to pledge support for these refugees.