On Refugee Day, UN chief calls on world to "open our hearts"

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Gowre, from Sinjar, lives on the seventh floor of an unfinished apartment block in 'Daben City', Dohuk, a housing estate with five buildings filled with more than 7000 internally displaced Yazidis. UNHCR File Photo / D. Nahr

On World Refugee Day, the UN Secretary-General is calling on the world to remember the plight of the millions of people worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of conflict and persecution.

The UN estimates that at the end of 2014, close to 60 million people – the highest number on record – were forcibly displaced around the globe.

This means that one in every 122 human beings today is either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

The ongoing conflict in Syria, as well as crises in Iraq, Ukraine, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, northeastern Nigeria and parts of Pakistan, have led to a staggering growth and acceleration of global forced displacement. 

In his message on this year's World Refugee Day marked annually on 20 June, 

UN chief Ban Ki-moon stressed that refugees are people like anyone else.

"Like you and me", he said.

He added that they led ordinary lives before becoming displaced, and their biggest dream is to be able to live normally again.

The UN Refugee Agency estimates that in 2014, 42,500 people became refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced every single day.

This rate has reportedly quadrupled in only four years. 

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 0’55″

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