Human Rights Commissioner Luise Amtsberg on World Refugee Day on 20 June

20.06.2024 - Press release

Statement by Luise Amtsberg, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance, to mark World Refugee Day on 20 June:

Wars, human rights violations, famines and the climate crisis are forcing more and more people to flee their homes. The UNHCR estimates that more than 120 million people around the world have now been forcibly displaced – more than ever before. More than half of them are displaced within their own countries. A large proportion – namely 69% – of those who had to leave their countries are in neighbouring states. The increase in violent conflicts and wars and the large number of people who have been forcibly displaced has not only led to a higher number of victims but also to a rise in humanitarian need. Some 362 million people across the globe are dependent on humanitarian assistance this year.

As the second largest bilateral donor, Germany stands firmly at the side of those reliant on assistance – we are delivering food, medicines as well as safe drinking water, while our emergency shelters and tents are providing protection. In many crises around the world, we are working to ensure that people in humanitarian emergencies receive life-saving help.

The catastrophic plight of people in Gaza is one focus of our humanitarian efforts. Some 1.7 million people, that is to say 75% of the population, are now internally displaced and do not have sufficient water, food or access to medical care. Children, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups are especially affected: the destruction of infrastructure has made it impossible for them to move freely and to find shelter during fighting. The Federal Foreign Office therefore more than tripled humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian territories last year and continues to work through intensive crisis diplomacy to increase humanitarian accesses and humanitarian ceasefires so that aid workers can work safely and provide people with supplies.

The war in the Sudan has led to the world’s largest displacement crisis: more than 10 million people were driven out of their homes and two million people have fled to the Sudan’s neighbouring countries. The ongoing hostilities are making it more difficult to distribute humanitarian supplies. This has resulted in more than 18 million people becoming dependent on humanitarian assistance and has left one million people in acute danger of starving. The situation in the Sudan is therefore not just the world’s largest displacement crises but also one of the largest potential famines. German humanitarian assistance is making a vital contribution towards the survival of people in the Sudan.

Against the backdrop of such dramatic human suffering, cuts in humanitarian assistance in the forthcoming federal budget would be short-sighted and have serious consequences. Instead of cutting vital humanitarian assistance, we need strong and, above all, reliable funding. It is crucial for the international system and for containing crises and conflicts that Germany continues to live up to its international responsibility.


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