In 2021 there were 89.3 million displaced persons worldwide, of whom 27.1 million were refugees, that is outside their homeland, according to UNHCR data.
Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, on Monday said that the country has “an obligation” to defend the rights of refugees and that its people daily demonstrate “inclusion and tolerance” in their reception of people seeking refuge, in comments to mark World Refugee Day, 20 June.
“Portugal and the Portuguese have reaffirmed, showing on a daily basis, the vocation of openness, inclusion and tolerance that characterises us,” the head of state said in a statement posted on his official website.
On the occasion of World Refugee Day – designated as such by the United Nations – de Sousa thanked “the individual and collective effort” made by the Portuguese in welcoming people who have fled their countries for numerous reasons, such as conflicts or climate change.
He added that the defence of the rights of refugees, “welcoming and integrating them, is more than an imperative of conscience, it is an obligation of a plural democratic society and with a future.”
“The last year has made the reality of millions of people around the world … even more evident,” he said. “From Ukraine, Afghanistan, Mozambique, to name but three latitudes where war, human rights violations and climate change have forced millions of people to move and seek protection.”
According to data made available by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in 2021 there were 89.3 million displaced persons worldwide, of whom 27.1 million were refugees, that is outside their homeland.
The number is expected to be even higher this year as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to other countries with no prospect of returning for now.