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The backstory: World Refugee Day falls on June 20 every year. It was created by the UN to recognize what it takes to leave your home country to escape danger and celebrate the strength and courage of those that have to flee. The UN says that including refugees in their new communities is a really effective way to help them restart their lives and encourage them to contribute to these new spaces. It can also prepare them to go back to their old homes and rebuild their old way of life if they’re ever able to return safely.
More recently: There have been a few ongoing refugee crises over the past few years. Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen millions of Ukrainian people flee their country and migrate to other nations, especially in Europe, because of Russia’s invasion. Making headlines again recently are migrant crossings via the Mediterranean, with boats often carrying hundreds of people seeking refuge at once. But, a lot of these refugees often have a hard time getting jobs to support themselves and their families.
The development: The theme of this year’s World Refugee Day is “Hope away from Home. A world where refugees are always included.” On Monday, over 40 major international companies pledged to hire, find work for or train 250,000 refugees in Europe over the next three years in honor of World Refugee Day. Amazon, Marriott and Hilton are participating in this project. Adidas, Blackstone, BP, Hyatt, Ipsos, L’Oréal Group, Novartis, PepsiCo, Pfizer and The Kraft Heinz Company also made pledges. The agreements were made at a business summit in Paris organized by the Tent Partnership for Refugees, which is a global business coalition of over 300 companies working to help refugees find economic independence.
“Every number is a story of an individual family who left everything, seeking safety, seeking protection and wanting to be able to rebuild as quickly as possible,” said Kelly Clements, the UN deputy high commissioner for refugees. “So the commitments that businesses are going to make on Monday are absolutely essential.”
"In terms of employment, we help them with legal fees, counseling, mentorship, training programs, the upskill, language, linguistics, everything, anything we can," said J Ofori Agboka, the leader of Amazon’s Human Resources for worldwide operations. "We’re proud of the pledge we have made today, which reflects Amazon’s ongoing commitment to support refugees globally.”
“With no end in sight to the Russian invasion of Ukraine – and with the European Union welcoming millions of Ukrainians – it’s imperative that refugees are offered longer-term inclusion and hope through integration into the labor market,” said Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the European Commission, at the summit.