On Sunday, United Nations World Refugee Day, we again bring attention to the plight of men, women and children all over the world who have been forced to flee their homes for safety. The theme of this year's World Refugee Day is: 'They have taken my home, but they can't take my future.' This is especially fitting given the current statistics on refugees around the world.
Currently, the UN estimates there are more than 43 million refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide. Sudan has the largest refugee population — 2.6 million have been internally displaced and 250,00 Darfuri refugees are in Chad. These individuals and families are driven from their homes without warning, and are often unable to access the most basic necessities. Refugees often live in overcrowded and under-supplied camps, where they are exposed to disease, crime, and other harsh conditions. They often have to wait from one month to eight years or more until a country accepts their application for residency.
In India and Nepal, there are approximately 70,000 Tibetan refugees who have escaped Chinese repression over the dangerous Himalayan mountain passes. There continues to be no resolution in sight as the Chinese government will not engage directly with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a peaceful dialogue.
Today, we must honor the people of Sudan, Tibet, and so many other refugees around the world who have been uprooted from their homes by helping to build a more secure, just and peaceful future.