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OC assists with Aquarius rescue ship in Spain #WorldRefugeeDay

Updated: Nov 18, 2019

(June 2018)

June 20th, world refugee day, is dedicated to recognising all those who have been displaced from their homes by natural or man-made emergencies. The number of refugees is at a record high for the fifth year in a row, as stated by the UNHCR who revealed the number of forcibly displaced people in 2017 was almost equivalent to the population of Thailand.

Refugees are amongst the most vulnerable people in the world, often leaving homes and livelihoods to avoid persecution or flee for safety. With the recent surge in conflict across the

MENA region, there has been an increase in numbers refugees going without their basic human rights such as housing, education and access to medical care.

The theme for World Refugee Day 2018 is “Now More Than Ever, We Need to Stand with Refugees”, highlighting both the plight of refugees and the maltreatment they often face in receiving countries.

As humanitarian workers, reversing the narrative of hate and division is essential. Maintaining the peace and dignity of refugee people is key from a humanitarian perspective.

To mark World Refugee Day 2018, one of OC’s senior staff members, Hassan Al-Sabeh spent a few days volunteering in Valencia, Spain, where around 650 refugees disembarked from the Aquarius, after being rescued from the Mediterranean after attempting to sail from Libya.

Hassan explained his role when the refugees arrived, “We helped in identifying the unaccompanied minors, distributing shoes, translating and explaining the procedures”.

The refugees were of various nationalities, including Algerian, Eritrean and Nigerian. Banners greeted them saying “Welcome” in different languages.

This example represents the positive way people can come together in times of crisis; the Aquarius ship also symbolises how many refugees are still taking life-threatening measures to try and reach safe ground, being denied legal, safe routes for migration.

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