How your support is helping refugees and displaced people around the world

About World Refugee Day 

On Tuesday 20 June, we celebrated World Refugee Day. This day is designed to honour refugees from around the world. The day was first established on 20 June 2001, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.  

The refugee crisis around the world continues to increase as issues of political upheaval, conflict and war remain prominent in our society. 

How many refugees are there in the world? 

According to the United Nations, over 103 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes, as a result of persecution, conflict, violence and human rights violations. Among them, are nearly 32.5 million refugees, and 41 percent are children. 

IDP camp near Goma in DRC. Photo: Caritas Goma.

What is a refugee? 

The term ‘refugee’ refers to a person who has crossed an international frontier and are at risk or have been victims of persecution or conflict in their home country. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have also been forced to flee their homes for similar reasons but live in their countries of origin. 

How does Caritas Australia help refugees? 

With your generous support, we are working with our local partner organisations on the ground around the world, to support displaced people and refugees facing the challenges of upheaval, poverty, disrupted education, lives and livelihoods.  

Because we are part of an international confederation with 162 member organisations in 200 countries all over the world, our partners are able to respond to the needs of people who have been forced from their homes, whether they are in their own country or living as refugees. 

Ukrainian refugees at the border to Poland. Photo: Caritas Poland.

What is Caritas Australia doing to help refugees in Ukraine? 

The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has forced millions of people to flee to neighbouring countries including Poland, Moldova, Hungary and Romania. 

According to the UNHCR, the escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance. Since the conflict began, more than 31 million people have been forced to leave their homes, with many crossing the borders into neighbouring countries including Poland, Moldova and Czech Republic.  

With the added support from our Ukraine Crisis Appeal, Caritas Australia is working to provide continued help to those facing conflict in Ukraine. Through your generous donations, Caritas Australia can offer various forms of assistance, such as emergency aid, medical supplies, food and shelter for those who have been affected by conflict in the region. 

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A woman in an IDP camp in Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Bitita Dany/Caritas Goma.

What is Caritas Australia doing to help internally displaced people in Democratic Republic of Congo? 

The Democratic Republic of Congo is facing ongoing conflict and attacks from armed groups which have been attacking villages, stealing livestock and slaughtering entire families.   

Over the past year, these attacks are not only increasing radically in frequency but also in violence.  

Across Ituri and North Kivu provinces, hundreds of people have been killed in attacks on villages, as well as thousands of houses destroyed. 

More than 5.8 million people have been forced from their homes – including over half a million in the past year alone and over 1 million have fled to neighbouring countries. 

To make matters worse, 26 million people are facing acute food insecurity – one of the highest numbers in the world.  

Along with your generous support, Caritas Australia is working closely with our partner CAFOD to respond and provide emergency support to communities in dire need of assistance, and to address their most urgent needs. 

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Afghan women walking down the street with protective face masks. Photo credit: CRS.

What is Caritas Australia doing to help internally displaced people in Afghanistan? 

After decades of unrest, drought and poverty, millions of Afghan families now face desperate circumstances. Without urgent action, the current combined humanitarian crisis of food insecurity and extreme poverty could lead to more deaths than twenty years of war.  

Thousands of families, especially women and girls, who face disproportionate risks to their health, safety and wellbeing, are fleeing their homes. 

This is in addition to over 3.5 million Afghans already uprooted from their homes due to insecurity and violence in the last year. 

Caritas Australia is working with our partner on the ground, providing emergency cash assistance, agricultural training and education to the most vulnerable communities across the nation. 

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How can I help refugees? 

Without urgent action, the current humanitarian crisis could lead to more deaths than during the war. Your urgent support is needed now. Please donate generously to help the refugees and displaced people of Ukraine, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan via our emergency appeals.