The United States has said that nearly 60 million people have become refugees globally at present on account of having been displaced inside and outside of their countries.
Its Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, announced this on Friday in Lagos in a message ahead of activities lined up to mark this year’s World Refugee Day on Saturday, June 20..
It would be recalled that the UN had set aside June 20 as World Refugee Day, in commemoration of those who flee violence and persecution, as well as those who help them on their journey.
Kerry said: “It’s almost unfathomable that nearly 60 million men, women and children are now displaced inside and outside of their countries.
“We have seen haunting images of Syrian families fleeing indiscriminate barrel bombings and young children rescued at sea, after days without food.
“Refugees remain in exile for an average of 17 years. Some are born and grow up in camps and never get to leave them.
“We have a duty to the millions stranded away from home, not just to preserve life, but to safeguard hope.’’
The Secretary of State said that, as a mark of the US government’s commitment to alleviate the global humanitarian tragedy, it spent over N1.2 trillion ($6 billion) on humanitarian assistance to different countries in 2014 alone.
“For those scattered by violence and oppression, the US is and will remain their most fervent defender. I am proud that U.S. humanitarian assistance exceeded $6 billion dollars last year,’’ Kerry said.
Kerry further disclosed that the U.S. is the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid, and resettled more refugees than any other nation.
He said that the US strongly believed that those who were displaced deserved not just food, shelter, and medical care, but dignity and respect and the opportunity to build a better future.