In line with its commitment to stand in solidarity with those most vulnerable, ActionAid Association has been actively responding to the needs of refugees and internally displaced people. To empower their agency, we work towards promoting their access to basic human rights, including healthcare, education, livelihood and a life of dignity. In the run-up to World Refugee Day, we organised an event, ‘Listening to Refugee Voices: Towards Better Futures for Refugees’, at the India International Centre, New Delhi, on June 13, 2022.
The event started with a panel discussion entitled ‘Seeking Refuge: Stories of Hope, Resilience and Challenge’, featuring eminent academicians, activists and representatives from civil society organisations working on refugees’ rights. This session witnessed an in-depth discussion on the issues faced by the various refugee communities worldwide, focusing on the most vulnerable groups, such as women and children. Several positive stories showcasing how, over the years, refugee communities have contributed to the welfare of host communities were also shared.
After the panel discussion, we launched ‘Women Refugee Voices from Asia and Africa: Travelling for Safety’, a book capturing the gendered dimensions of ongoing refugee crises in Bangladesh, India, Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria. While this publication seeks to build a framework to ensure effective mechanisms to safeguard the rights of refugees, it also celebrates the courage and leadership demonstrated by women refugees to advance human rights and peace. While closing the event, Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director, ActionAid Association, emphasised the urgent need for medium to long-term solutions to the challenges faced by refugees. “Camps are not the way forward. We need to ensure that our cities welcome and provide a healthy future for refugees,” he stated. More than 50 people attended the programme.