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World Refugee Day 2021: MSF stands with people forced from home

Sea Watch 4 - Rotation01 - Life On Deck

Mediterranean Sea 2020 © Hannah Wallace Bowman/MSF

Standing in solidarity with refugees

June 20 is World Refugee Day, a day designated by the United Nations to recognize refugees and other forcibly displaced people around the world—and call attention to the challenges they face.


Migration: Moving beyond crisis

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) teams help refugees every day. We bear witness to the impacts of the violence and persecution they have experienced in their homelands, the dangers they face along the journey, and the failure of the international community to protect these vulnerable people. In our projects around the world, we provide medical and mental health care, access to clean water, essential supplies, and other services. And we advocate on behalf of our patients to end policies that contribute to their suffering.

Today, there are more than 82 million forcibly displaced people around the world. Many of these people have fled life-threatening dangers at home only to face further risks on their journeys. Some face violence and extortion at the hands of criminals and human smugglers. Others wind up stranded indefinitely in camps, detention centers, or in urban settlements as many national governments enact increasingly hostile anti-immigration policies.

On this World Refugee Day, learn more about MSF’s work with people on the move, and join us to stand in solidarity with refugees and other displaced people around the world.


Reaching out to refugees where they are

What is a refugee?

A refugee is a person who has been forced to flee their home country due to violence or persecution. People have the right to seek asylum in another country under international law. 

Doctors Without Borders is working now to provide lifesaving medical care for displaced people in countries around the world, from Syria to Sudan, Bangladesh to Greece.

In Mexico, our patients share their stories of fear and trauma that they have experienced as they seek safety from their home countries. We are calling on the United States, Mexico, and governments in the Northern Triangle of Central America to uphold safe and humane migration policies.

In Panama, we’re providing medical and mental health care for migrants making the dangerous crossing from Colombia through the Darién Gap. We are calling on the Panamanian and Colombian authorities to create safe routes to protect people in transit.

We are speaking out against European Union migration policies that are causing tremendous human suffering in the Greek islands. More needs to be done to protect the health and wellbeing of refugees, asylum seekers, and other people on the move.

Since early November, conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has displaced hundreds of thousands of people. We’ve reported on the extreme violence forcing people to flee, as well as the deteriorating conditions refugees face in Sudan’s Al-Tenideba camp.

Learn about our recent work with refugees


Life on the move: A photo gallery

These people took huge risks to flee violence and persecution. But their journeys to safety are still far from over. 



EU migration policies are causing tremendous human suffering on the Greek islands  

MSF report highlights the need to protect the health and wellbeing of refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants. 



Panama: Surviving the dangers of the Darién Gap 

More than 15,000 migrants from all over the world crossed through the dangerous Darién Gap from Colombia into Panama.