World Refugee Day 2016 June 20: Demand for political acceptance of needs of refugees

To make psychological support really effective, it needs political consensus that the misery of flight and displacement can be reduced if we take the rights and needs of all people involved into account.

News - World Refugee Day June 20: Demand for political acceptance of needs of refugees

In the year 2000, the United Nations General Assembly decided that June 20 will be celebrated as International Refugee Day. The memory day shall remind of the fate of people who have been dispelled and pressed to leave their homes. Rarely has this memory been more important. UNHCR Global Trends report finds 65.3 million people, or one person in 113, were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015.

Flight and expulsion cause unbelievable suffering and hardship. Major causes for flight are violence and war, but also life conditions that do not fulfill basic human needs such as security, justice, but also a safe environment and adequate access to food and dwelling. Psychologists know a lot about intergroup conflicts and violence which cause displacement. As professionals, they are familiar with the dramatic traumatic consequences that displacement and the loss of family members and friends have. Psychologists are aware of causes for acceptance or rejection of refugees when they try to find new homes in places of safety and security. This psychological knowledge makes important contributions to the reduction of intergroup conflicts and thus reasons for flight. We as psychologists are committed to use our scientific knowledge and methods to reduce prejudice, discrimination and violence against refugees as well as support refugees in overcoming the traumata of their life story. Finally, psychologists can contribute to the creation of an integrative welcome climate in refugees receiving countries. 

The European Federation of Psychologists' Associations EFPA calls on the people in the European Community and worldwide to use the World Refugee Day to remember the often unbelievable harm that violence and displacement can cause. EFPA appeals on the governments to do everything to avoid and reduce reasons for flights, to organize safe opportunities for refugees to reach new places to stay, to welcome refugees and to give them the support they need to overcome their trauma. The application of psychological knowledge can support these processes and make them effective. Examples are initiations of non-violent conflict resolution, creation of integration policies, integration in schools, housing and work, and therapeutic support for overcoming the consequences of traumatic experiences. 

The EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology emphasizes the urgency of the need to help, and also the readiness of professional psychologists to provide this help: “Expulsion and displacement are major contemporary challenges. Social, pedagogical and clinical psychologists have the professional competences to provide assistance. However, to make psychological support really effective, it needs political consensus that the misery of flight and displacement can be reduced if we take the rights and needs of all people involved into account, people in the receiving countries, but primarily the needs of the refugees, within the framework of the UN Refugee Convention, 1951.”

Link to the UN 1951 Refugee Convention 1951

http://www.unhcr.org/1951-refugee-convention.html