Every year, on June 20th, the United Nations observes World Refugee Day. Some countries also organize an annual refuge week.

Refugee Day

Burmese refugees march on World Refugee Day.

In the UK, the refuge week is from the 18th to the 24th of June. Refuge week is a time to recognize the hardships, determination, and courage of people who are forced to leave their homes due to war and oppression. Moreover, in the UK, refuge week is a time to celebrate the various contributions refugees bring to the country. The Telegraph lists ten examples of refugee contributions, among which are the following:

– One of Britain’s most famous buildings, Hampton Court Palace, was designed by a French Huguenot refugee.

– It is believed that fish and chips was brought over in the 17th century by Jewish refugees from Portugal.

– Hip-hop musician, political activist and designer M.I.A. is a Sri Lankan refugee.

– A son of an Italian refugee designed the Millennium Dome.

In 2011, there was a 20% increase in the amount of asylum seekers around the world. The on-going conflict in Afghanistan means that the country has more asylum seekers than any other country in the world. In 2011 alone 36,000 Afghans requested asylum. Other examples of countries producing a high number of asylum requests are Serbia, China, and Pakistan. United States, France, and Germany received the most requests for international protection. In 2011, UK was the seventh biggest receiver.