Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on World Refugee Day

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
June 18, 2010


World Refugee Day is an opportunity for the international community to focus on the critical efforts to provide relief to the millions of refugees worldwide who have been forced from their homes or had to flee their countries to escape conflict, repression, or persecution. Providing assistance to refugees is a transnational challenge, and we all must work together to safeguard the rights of refugees and assist them in their efforts to rebuild their lives, whether it is through voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement.

The United States is deeply committed to this cause. We are the largest single donor to refugees and victims of conflict, contributing more than $1.7 billion last year alone, including $640 million in support of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We also provide support to refugees through other multilateral partners, including the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Today, Secretary Clinton announced that the United States will be providing an additional contribution of $60 million to UNRWA that will help provide critical services such as healthcare and improve life for 4.7 million Palestinians. All of these organizations do invaluable work for refugees through their programs in dozens of countries.

UNHCR this year chose the theme of “Home,” highlighting the plight of more than 15.2 million refugees who may never be able to return to their home countries out of fear for their safety and that of their families. This is a timely and apt theme that underlines the dream of all refugees to have a real and lasting home. So many refugees are forced to seek shelter in camps, often without adequate access to food, clean water, and sanitation. Security can be a grave concern, particularly for women and girls who are vulnerable to rape and sexual assault. Refugees who remain in these conditions for years suffer the trauma of protracted disruption to their education, health, and livelihoods.

And so as we mark this day, the United States reaffirms its call for an intensified effort to enable refugees around the world to lead dignified lives, enjoy the opportunity to achieve their hopes and dreams, and find lasting homes.


PRN: 2010/120