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Brussels, 17 June 2016 – 20 June is World Refugee Day.  On that day, all over the world, particular attention is given to the millions of people who have to flee war and human rights violations or persecution. In Belgium too, many organisations work together to mark the day.

We stand #WithRefugees

2015 was a year marked by the plight of millions of people seeking protection worldwide, with a modest proportion of them also fleeing to Belgium. The numbers of displaced people reached a level unseen since World War II. Controversies are arising more than ever in many countries about how to protect and integrate refugees. Some countries have resorted to unilateral and restrictive measures, including the closure of borders. Growing xenophobia is also observed in many countries.

Yet, this is only part of the picture. There are also positive signs. The number of refugees arriving also triggered an outpouring of solidarity and generosity. Every day, initiatives are taken all around the world by governments, NGOs, citizens, students and families to help refugees and asylum-seekers. They see refugees as human beings, people like you and me whose lives have been disrupted by unexpected events and circumstances.

To face the many challenges ahead and make 2016 the year during which things will improve, a coalition of refugee-assisting organisations in Belgium, together with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), invite everyone to stand #WithRefugees.

Concert – Artists #WithRefugees

On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2016, UNHCR, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), the Federal Agency for the reception of asylum seekers (Fedasil), Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, Croix-Rouge de Belgique and 11.11.11 are supporting a concert with refugee artists organised with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra. Ticket sales for this concert – which will take place at Ancienne Belgique, in Brussels, at 20:00 – will go to a good cause. 200 free seats have been reserved for refugees and asylum seekers in Belgium.


For more information on the day, facts & figures, and a further inspiration on what you can do to mark the day or to support refugees, please visit our website: www.refugeeday.be.

Via this website you can also sign our global #WithRefugees petition and send a clear message of solidarity with refugees.  We stand together #WithRefugees. Stand with us!


For more information, testimonies, pictures or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Vanessa Saenen – UNHCR
Tel: 02 627 59 32 / 0476 42 01 34
E-mail: saenen@unhcr.org

Rita Carvalho – ECRE
Tel: 02 212 08 20
E-mail: rcarvalho@ecre.org

Lin Vanwayenbergh – Fedasil
Tel: 02 213 43 04 / 0485 74 97 78
E-mail: lin.vanwayenbergh@fedasil.be

Bieke Purnelle – Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen
Tel: 0473 88 65 97
E-mail: bieke@vluchtelingenwerk.be

Nancy Ferroni – Croix Rouge de Belgique
Tel: 02 371 32 13 / 0478 94 65 74
E-mail: nancy.ferroni@croix-rouge.be

Hendrik Van Poele – 11.11.11
Tel: 0497 48 19  51
E-mail: hendrik.vanpoele@11.be