The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) commemorated World Refugee Day on June 20, 2020, and observed World Refugee Sabbath on June 18, by paying tribute to the plight of millions of families and individuals who have been displaced by war, violence, persecution, and human rights abuses.
ADRA International joined the United Nations and communities around the world in raising awareness of the global refugee crisis. According to the latest United Nations Refugee Agency Global Trends Report, more than 100 million people have been forcibly displaced around the world as of May 2022. The Ukraine conflict, which caused the fastest and one of the largest forced displacement crises since World War II, as well as emergencies in Africa, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, pushed displacements to an all-time high.
“ADRA International salutes the courage and resilience of the millions of moms, young children, fathers, elderly people, and individuals forced to flee their homes to escape conflict or persecution,” Michael Kruger, president of ADRA International, said. “We recognize the generosity and humanity of host communities and countries, which frequently struggle with their own economies and security. ADRA remains committed and stands in unity and solidarity with the Adventist Church and trusted partners to continue to support and advocate for the global integration of refugees and displaced people with justice, compassion, and love.
“Let’s observe World Refugee Day and World Refugee Sabbath, to instill empathy and devotion for helping vulnerable families to rebuild their lives,” Kruger added.
This year, ADRA mobilized emergency response teams and increased resources to assist the tens of thousands of refugees who fled into neighboring countries as a result of the Ukraine conflict. It is developing long-term programs to aid families and children in host communities across Europe.
ADRA is also providing food, shelter, safe water, hygiene items, psychosocial support, and other essential services to displaced families in more than 40 other countries, including Syria, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Brazil, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Uganda.
The first World Refugee Day was held on June 20, 2001, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Every year, ADRA joins the Adventist community to mark the anniversary with World Refugee Sabbath, which fell on June 18 this year.
“As the global humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, ADRA believes that refugees have the right to live their lives free of the shame of rejection and the shackles of persecution and war,” Herma Percy, director of advocacy for ADRA International, said. “We encourage faith-based institutions, community members, and other organizations to protect and advocate for families fleeing danger and violence.
“Open your hearts to refugees. Keep them in your prayers and create opportunities to help them integrate into society, gain confidence, and contribute to the host country.”
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by improving health, increasing livelihoods, providing access to education, and responding to disasters. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.