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Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies - European University Institute

Is World Refugee Day in 2024 merely symbolic or about real human rights?

Each year, World Refugee Day on 20 June prompts global reflection on the plight of refugees. In this op-ed published on Euronews, Luigi Achilli, Stephanie Acker, and Caitlin Procter from the Migration Policy Centre question the true political commitment to this commemorative day beyond its symbolism.

20 June 2024 | Opinion

Palestinian child playing on a slide.

"For seven decades, Palestinian children have been born and raised as refugees. While many 18-year-olds in Europe are finishing their secondary studies and heading off to university, 18-year-olds in Gaza have lived through six different wars (2008-2009, 2012, 2014, 2021, 2022, and 2023).

Since October, schools in Gaza have been used as shelters to house the displaced, and even many of those have been targeted by bombardment. In the face of extremely limited humanitarian access to Gaza over the past eight months, community-led groups, NGOs, and humanitarian organizations are persevering in providing education to young people despite the challenging circumstances.

However, due to the scarcity of supplies, efforts are hampered. For older children, those on the brink of adulthood, there will be no final exams this summer and no school graduations. Every single one of Gaza’s universities has been destroyed, and prospects for higher education in Gaza no longer exist."

The full article, published on 20 June 2024 in Euronews, exposes the impact of long-term displacement on Palestinian children. It also highlights the profound disconnect between discourse and reality: despite the right of return being supported by international law, fundamental rights are still not upheld.

More research on this topic can be found at the Migration Policy Centre.

Last update: 20 June 2024

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