Millions Observe World Refugee Day, June 20

( [email protected] ) Jun 21, 2004 02:36 PM EDT

Millions around the world observed World Refugee Day – formerly known as Africa Refugee Day – on June 20 with special events focusing on the plight of the current-day refugees. More than a dozen countries held official “World Refugee Day” events with traditional dance, music performances, sports competitions, film festivals, debates and special church services.

According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, there was a drop in the number of refugees around the world last year. However, the agency continues to help more than 17 million refugees who fled their homes and their countries because of war and persecution.

Christian groups such as World Relief and Lutheran Family Services has helped the resettlement process for the past several years, and have provided refugee care worldwide. According to World Relief, hundreds of churches have partnered with the evangelical organization to help 3,200 refugees begin new lives, in the last nine months alone.