World Refugee Day

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Why this Matters

More than 65 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes because of conflict, poverty and violence. There are more refugees and internally displaced people now than at any other time in history. Church teaching encourages us to welcome foreigners seeking the security and livelihoods they cannot find in their home countries.

WHY They Leave

People fleeing violence in Syria form the largest refugee group in the world today. Since the war began in 2011, more than 5 million people have gone to neighboring countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Faced with an uncertain future, Syrian refugees rely on Catholic Relief Services and our partners for their basic needs, such as food, shelter, medical care and education.

In East Africa, it’s not just conflict that’s driving the displacement, but also drought and hunger. East Africa is home to nearly 4 million refugees, with an additional 11 million internally displaced people. Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan, forcing even more people to flee. Some live in “tent cities,” with international assistance their only means of getting food and water.

In other parts of the world, the forces driving displacement have persisted for decades. Colombia’s 60-year civil conflict continues to be one of the worst humanitarian crises in the Western Hemisphere. Armed guerilla groups, and drug and human traffickers, have forced millions of people—many of them poor—from their homes.

Nearly 34,000 people are displaced every day. They need our prayers, compassion and support.



"We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories."

—Pope Francis