World Refugee Day: Refugees Welcome
World Refugee Day this year highlights the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. Trade unions from across Europe and throughout the world have been at the forefront of welcoming and ensuring safe haven for refugees, and for their integration into the workforce.
The international union movement is calling on governments to support the right to safe haven and work for all refugees.
Unions have opened up their residential facilities to take in refugees and organised supplies of food and other essentials to help feed and clothe those who have arrived.
They have mobilised their members in community activities to support refugees, delivered aid across borders and been at the forefront of public solidarity mobilisations and strikes where refugees are being exploited at work.
They are helping undocumented refugees, including recognising their status as workers with a union card.
They are campaigning successfully for thousands of people to get documentation, permanent residency and decent jobs.
Unions are also negotiating with employers and governments to get tripartite agreements for integrating refugees into the workforce.
“Ordinary working people, with their unions, are showing that even when governments fail to accept their responsibilities, solidarity and compassion will help fill the void of official neglect,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation.
There are more than 65 million refugees around the world, and every minute, 24 people around the world flee their homes because of violence or persecution, according to the UN High Commissioner on refugees.
Eighty-six per cent of refugees are hosted in developing countries.
“The guarantee of equal treatment for refugees is framed by a simple message that ’refugees are welcome’. To end the tragedy of human displacement, it will take all of us,” said Sharan Burrow.
The ITUC has distributed ‘’refugee welcome’’ badges and a briefing on the refugee crisis.