Recognising World Refugee Day – On Solid Ground

Abbie Trayler-Smith photographed Muna, who fled the conflict in Syria to live in Mafraq, Jordan.

20/06/2013 – Each year, on the 20th of June, the world focuses on the plight of people who are forced to flee their homes due to conflicts or natural disasters – refugees. This day has been significant since 2001 when the UN General Assembly designated it on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (CRSR).

Today, there are more than 45 million people forcibly displaced around the world: 15.4 million of them are refugees, 28.8 million are internally displaced and 937 000 seeking asylum (2012 UNHCR Global Trends). Many depend on humanitarian aid. Some 80% are women, children and elderly. An estimated 75% live without any immediate hope of returning to their homes and are forced to live in camps for more than five years.

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) puts refugees at the heart of its mandate as they are the most vulnerable group in humanitarian crises. This is why ECHO mobilises a significant part of its humanitarian budget – €380 million in 2012 – to support projects in 25 countries for 10 million refugees. This support ensures the basic human needs of shelter, food, nutrition and clean water. Other priorities include healthcare, sanitation, general hygiene, protection, education and psychosocial support.

This year on the occasion of the World Refugee Day, ECHO, in cooperation with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Panos Pictures is launching an awareness raising campaign, On Solid Ground. The campaign showcases the work of ECHO and the IRC in supporting refugees around the world.

Using the concept of home, On Solid Ground allows audiences to connect with the issues faced by people affected by the most devastating humanitarian crises through a captivating series of photographs from Mali, Kenya, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jordan, Pakistan and Croatia.

The campaign will be officially launched today in London with EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva. The exhibition will be displayed in the courtyard of St. Martin in the Fields, close to Trafalgar Square, until 31 July 2013. It will then travel to Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France and Germany.

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