World Health Organisation (WHO) joins the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR to observe June 20th as the World Refugee Day 2024. In line of this year’s theme, ‘Solidarity with Refugees’, WHO emphasizes the importance of building inclusive health systems and ensuring equitable care for them.

Over 110 million individuals worldwide were forcibly displaced, according to UNHCR estimates, by mid-2023. This estimate included 40% children. The estimate also revealed that 75% of these displaced were hosted in low and middle-income countries. It is crucial to note here that refugees are not merely recipients of care but active contributors to health systems worldwide.

India’s Stake In World Refugee Day

India has a long history of refugees that dates back to its partition in 1947. Over 46,000 refugees and asylum seekers are registered with UNHCR primarily from Myanmar and Afghanistan. These individuals often reside in urban areas alongside locals.

India follows the principles of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1959. Still, it lacks a formal national refugee law that emphasizes a welcoming approach and views situations as temporary while aiming for eventual repatriation when conditions in the home country is normal.

In lieu of the 2019-2030 Global Action Plan for promoting the health of refugees and migrants, WHO collaborates with Member States and partners to advocate for refugees’ and migrants rights and health equity. By leading global advocacy efforts, setting standards, and generating evidences, WHO advances evidence-based approaches to meet the health needs of refugees and migrants to promote global health and equity.

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