European Union External Action

Joint Statement by the European Commission and the High Representative on the occasion of World Refugee Day, 20 June 2019

Bruxelles, 20/06/2019 - 17:38, UNIQUE ID: 190620_18
Statements by the HR/VP

Brussels, 19 June 2019

“In 2018, 70.8 million people were forcibly displaced across the world, fleeing conflicts, human rights
violations, persecution, natural disasters and the impacts of climate change - 29.4 million are refugees
or asylum seekers. Today, we reaffirm our strong and long-standing commitment to protect the rights
of the most vulnerable, those who are forced to flee and therefore leave their homes behind.
Addressing forced displacement requires a global and inclusive partnership where solidarity and
responsibility are shared by the entire international community and not only by a few host countries
and donors.
Europe is and will remain a safe haven for those in need of international protection. Since 2015, EU
Member States granted protection to more than 1.9 million people.
As the leading global aid donor, the EU allocates 80% of its humanitarian assistance to help forcibly
displaced people and their host communities in over 40 countries. This goes hand in hand with
development assistance as well as with our work on conflict prevention, strengthening of the rule of
law and fostering early warning and prevention measures.
From Syria to South Sudan, from Myanmar to Venezuela, we work towards durable solutions toward
achieving peace and stability. So far, the European Union and its Member States together have
provided support amounting to almost €17 billion for Syrian displaced inside Syria but above all to
Syrian refugees and their host communities in the region since the very beginning of the conflict in
2011, in particular in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
Along the Central Mediterranean Route, our work to fight traffickers and smugglers, save lives,
improve the dire situation of refugees and migrants, evacuate those in need and open up legal
pathways continues unabated. Far too many people are at risk and should be relocated to safety
urgently. Through our joint African Union – European Union – United Nations Task Force, over 3,600
people in need of international protection have been evacuated from Libya in view of further
resettlement and 40,489 vulnerable persons have been assisted to return home safely.
As long as refugees lose their lives trying to reach a safe place, our work must continue. We will
continue protecting the human rights of refugees inside and outside Europe and work with partner
countries and international organisations to establish more safe and legal pathways for those in need of
protection. Since 2015, two successful EU resettlement programmes have helped almost 60,000 of the
most vulnerable persons in need of international protection find shelter in the EU. This work must
continue.”

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