This day is celebrated all around the world with events such as conferences, stand up comedies, concerts and memorial services. The day originally marked Africa Refugee Day.
On 4 December 2000, the General Assembly noted that 2001 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June. It, therefore, decided that, as from 2001, 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day (resolution 55/76).
International law defines refugees as people who are unable or unwilling to return to their countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or belonging to a particular social group.
Activities on the World Refugee Day focuss on raising awareness about the plight of refugees and displaced persons; highlighting the situation of "forgotten" refugees and refugee situations; and reinforcing the obligation of states to protect refugees and internally displaced persons.
"I urge you to celebrate the extraordinary courage and contributions of refugees past and present."
- Kofi Annan, Former United Nations General Secretary