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World Refugee Day: Renewing our commitment

On June 20th we commemorate World Refugee Day and this year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Convention on the Status of Refugees. Today there are 15 million refugees in the world and 25 million internally displaced persons who have not crossed international borders. The United States has been a world leader on refugee protection and has welcomed refugees into communities throughout the country. The Episcopal Church has long been a forceful advocate on behalf of refugees, immigrants, and other at-risk groups. The public policy positions of the Episcopal Church regarding refugees are based on our faith tradition of welcoming the stranger and serving the "least among us." We seek to carry forth the voice of refugees, immigrants, and other at-risk uprooted groups for whom protection through better public policy is needed. This year we are renewing our commitment to those fleeing persecution.

The Episcopal Church has been resettling and advocating for refugees for 60 years; today Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) helps thousands of refugees each year. EMM partners with local faith groups and community organizations to help refugees rebuild their lives and become self-sufficient in their new surroundings. With the assistance of staff in 35 affiliate offices located in 27 dioceses, EMM has assisted refugees from around the world who fled instability and danger in places like Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Vietnam, Colombia, Afghanistan, and Iran.

The Presiding Bishop released a statement on World Refugee Day stressing the importance of the 60th anniversary of the Convention on the Status of Refugees: "This anniversary provides an opportunity to recommit to the protection of refugees as well as to work toward safety for those fleeing persecution and violence. The Episcopal Church has extended a compassionate welcome to forcibly uprooted persons arriving on our shores since World War II." As we renew our commitment to those fleeing persecution, we ask that you join us in this effort.

We encourage you take at least one of these actions for refugees:

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