World Refugee Day 2023
Project HOPE Calls for Greater Protection of People Experiencing Forced Displacement
Statement from Project HOPE’s CEO & President Rabih Torbay
Washington, DC (20 June 2023) – Today, on World Refugee Day, I want to call attention to the record-breaking number of people who are experiencing displacement. More than 108.4 million people were displaced at the close of 2022, numbers that do not yet account for the mass displacement we’ve seen from the climate crisis and disasters like the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, the ongoing conflict in Sudan, the continuation of the war in Ukraine, and more. And just last week, we watched in horror as the globe mourned the loss of hundreds of people who risked their lives seeking safety on a migrant ship that sank off the coast of Greece.
As a global health and humanitarian organization, we cannot remain silent as we watch the figures rise each year. The reality is that people facing displacement – refugees, internally displaced person/s (IDPs), asylum seekers, and migrants – are just that, people. They – like us – are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, engineers, writers, doctors, athletes, etc. They – like us – worry incessantly about their children and need to put food on the table and have a roof over their heads, all while navigating the complexities of displacement. Far too many displaced people lack access to health care and mental health resources, despite being exposed to traumatic journeys to safety that leave them exposed to the elements, susceptible to infectious diseases, and without the basic necessities or medicines that would keep them healthy.
In our work around the globe, we come face-to-face with far too many families and individuals navigating forced displacement. In hospitals in Colombia, we treat pregnant moms who risk their lives crossing the border from Venezuela for reproductive care. Across Ukraine, we provide mental health support to families with young children who fled war as shells and missiles rocked their homes. In IDP camps in Ethiopia, we bring medical services to people who have braved horrific journeys to find safety. In Türkiye, we distribute supplies to Turkish and Syrian families who lost everything – and almost their lives – in the devastating earthquakes. Project HOPE remains committed to supporting their health and humanitarian needs – whether we’re training health workers on how to approach psychological first aid or screen for gender-based violence, providing surge support to hospitals and clinics, distributing water and hygiene kits, launching mobile medical units to reach areas without health support, stocking hospitals and health clinics with medicines and medical supplies, providing protection for people on the move, or employing psychologists and social workers to provide mental health support.
This World Refugee Day, I hope you will join me in not only acknowledging our forcibly displaced brothers and sisters, but in celebrating their resiliency and committing to their protection.
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact [email protected].
About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE is a leading global health and humanitarian organization operating in more than 25 countries around the world. We work side-by-side with local health systems to save lives and improve health. Our mission is at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges, including infectious and chronic diseases, disasters and health crises, maternal, neonatal and child health and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. For more information on Project HOPE and its work around the world, visit www.ProjectHOPE.org and follow us on Twitter @ProjectHOPEorg.