World Refugee Day 2012 Celebrations in Zimbabwe

Click to view photos from the eventOn 29 June 2012, World Refugee Day was celebrated in Zimbabwe at Tongogara Refugee Camp in the Chipinge district of Manicaland province, approximately 600 km south-east of Harare.

The event was co-hosted by the Government of Zimbabwe and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Zimbabwe country office. Approximately four thousand people gathered to celebrate the Day and these were constituted mainly of refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi; local community members; UNHCR staff and senior Government Officials.

The global World Refugee Day theme for 2012 was DILEMMAS. It captures the realities which individuals in forced displacement have to make: the decision to flee to an unknown destination risking possible starvation, disease and rape or staying behind potentially to face violence, murder, arson and persecution.

Honourable Ms Paurina Mpariwa, the Minister of Labour and Social Services, was the Guest of Honour. She acknowledged the challenges displaced persons often face and declared that Zimbabwe remained willing to receive and host asylum seekers. The UNHCR Country Representative, Mr Marcellin Hepie, read a speech on behalf of the High Commissioner for Refugees in which he stated that forced displacement continued to increase across the world. He appreciated Government of Zimbabwe for its policy to accept refugees despite the economic challenges the country has been facing.