RCUSA Statement on Congressional World Refugee Day Resolution 2024

June 21, 2024

Washington, DC – On June 20, 2024, communities around the world celebrated World Refugee Day, honoring refugees and raising awareness of the need for each country to protect those who have been forcibly displaced.

As of the end of 2023, there were more than 117 million people worldwide forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, and events seriously disturbing public order, including more than 31 million refugees that have fled their countries. 

RCUSA commends U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) for championing the 2024 World Refugee Day Resolution, introduced yesterday alongside 79 cosponsors in the house and the senate. The Resolution commemorates World Refugee Day and reaffirms the importance of the United States’ commitment to supporting the safety, health, and well-being of refugees and forcibly displaced persons worldwide, and underscores the importance of both the United States refugee resettlement program and asylum systems to provide individuals fleeing violence and persecution a safe place to call home. 

The Resolution is supported by the RCUSA coalition, which consists of 41 US-based non-profit organizations that support and protect the rights of forcibly displaced people.

“RCUSA stands with the global community in advocating for the unequivocal right of individuals to seek safety,” John Slocum, Executive Director of RCUSA. “We commend our Congressional partners for their steadfast advocacy in safeguarding the rights and dignity of those fleeing persecution and conflict, and encourage others to join in doing so through endorsing crucial resolutions such as this one.” 

“On World Refugee Day, we honor the resiliency and humanity of all refugees and forcibly displaced people and draw attention to the invaluable contributions they bring to the communities where they can find safe refuge,” said Sharif Aly, President of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). “At a time when the United States is backsliding on its commitment to protect those seeking safety, today’s resolution is a powerful affirmation of the critical role the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program plays in providing protection to forcibly displaced people around the world. Thank you Senator Cardin and Representative Lieu for your leadership in ensuring the United States lives up to its promise to welcome and protect refugees and other displaced people.”

HIAS thanks Senator Cardin and Representative Lieu for their leadership and commitment to honoring refugees and asylum seekers on World Refugee Day,” said HIAS’ Vice President, U.S. Policy and Advocacy, Naomi Steinberg. “June 20th is an opportunity for all of us to not only recognize the many ways that refugees contribute to the United States, but also to take pause and wrestle with the brutal reality that more people have been forced to flee from their homes and communities than at any other time in human history. We urge our elected leaders to take the good will from World Refugee Day and carry it forward to ensure that the U.S. does not abdicate its responsibilities to respect fundamental asylum law and continues to lead on welcoming refugees through the US refugee resettlement program and other humanitarian protection pathways.”

“World Refugee Day is an important occasion to celebrate the ways that refugees support their communities and to reflect soberly on the need for global action to expand refugees’ access to long-term safety,” said Betsy Fisher, U.S. Director of Talent Beyond Boundaries. “We are grateful to Senator Cardin and Representative Lieu for their leadership in honoring our refugee neighbors and calling on the U.S. government to respect its international obligation to provide asylum, continue to expand resettlement, and building or expanding other pathways to safety.”

“As a Christian organization dedicated to serving refugees, we fully appreciate the importance of World Refugee Day and this congressional resolution.  The resolution is an opportunity to unite Congress around the U.S.’s commitment to promoting the safety, health, and well-being of refugees and displaced persons.  By supporting this resolution, we reaffirm our commitment to upholding the dignity and humanity of every person, reflecting the light of Christ in a world that desperately needs compassion and kindness.”  —Liz van Zyl, Vice President for Government Affairs, Bethany Christian Services

“At a time of record forced displacement – with an estimated 120 million currently displaced from their homes – the U.S. government must continue to play a leadership role in advancing the rights and meeting the needs of those impacted by persecution, conflict, and violence”, said Kelly Ryan, President of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. “As an organization committed to accompanying, serving, and advocating on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, we thank Rep. Lieu and Senator Cardin for championing this resolution and for recognizing their strength, courage, and perseverance as well as the contributions made to their host communities every day.”

“This World Refugee Day and Pride Month, we recognize and honor the courage and resilience of LGBTQI+ people forced to flee their homes due to homophobia and transphobia,” said Rainbow Railroad Head of Engagement Latoya Nugent. “With more forcibly displaced people now than ever before, we urge the U.S. government to uphold human rights, address root causes of forced migration, and establish secure pathways to safety. As we celebrate refugees’ resilience today, let us remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing queer liberation, striving for a world where we all live, work, and play with dignity and pride. Rainbow Railroad recognizes the United States as a global leader in refugee resettlement and advocates for increased and sustained support for LGBTQI+ refugees seeking safety in this country.”

“Nearly 120 million individuals have been forced to flee their homes, roughly double the number of a decade ago and more than ever in recorded history. On this World Refugee Day, we urge all Americans to lament and contend against the horrifying realities of persecution and conflict that have fueled this global crisis and to celebrate the resilience and contributions of refugees in our own nation and around the world.” – Myal Greene, President and CEO, World Relief

“As we commemorate World Refugee Day, we celebrate the profound impact that refugees, asylum seekers, and people with lived experience of forced displacement give to our communities globally,” said Refugee Congress Executive Director, Nili Sarit Yossinger. “It is a time to honor their resilience and courage, strengthen our commitments to their long-term safety and dignity, create communities that are welcoming and inclusive, and ensure that the voices and expertise of refugees are centered in policy-making. We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Cardin and Representative Lieu in advocating for refugee rights and upholding the US’ international humanitarian leadership, and we invite others to join in this commitment. Let us continue to build pathways to safety and justice for all people seeking safety.”

“For nearly half a century, Alight has held space for nuance and the understanding that multiple truths can exist at once. On this World Refugee Day, I hold firmly to the reality that rates of displacement are at an all-time high – and that an abundant future is possible for every child, parent, and individual who finds themselves in search of home and belonging. On behalf of Alight, I express my gratitude to Senator Cardin and Representative Lieu for introducing this resolution. It advances the promise that every life is deserving of abundance and recognizes that communities are elevated economically and culturally through acts of generosity and welcoming. I stand beside refugees and our ambitious allies across the world who work tirelessly for greater protection, recognition, and joy for all lives impacted by displacement.” –Jocelyn Wyatt, CEO, Alight


Media Contact: Mariam Sayeed, msayeed@rcusa.org


RCUSA is a diverse coalition advocating for just and humane laws and policies, and the promotion of dialogue and communication among government, civil society, and those who need protection and welcome. Individual RCUSA members do not all address all refugee-related issues, nor do all individual members approach common refugee-related issues identically.