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Message from the Director of the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants on World Refugees Day

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has declared 20 June as World Refugee Day. As they said in their message, on this day the world celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to leave their home countries to escape conflict or persecution.
A group of people standing on top of a boat in the ocean.

The 2023 theme of World Refugee Day is “Hope away from home.” | Author Depostihphotos/Giovanni Cancemi

The latest UNHCR report reveals some key statistical trends on refugees, applicants for international protection, internally displaced persons and stateless persons. It finds that there were more than 108 million such persons in the world at the end of 2022, which is an increase of 19.1 million from the previous year and the highest increase on record. In other words, the number of refugees is larger than the population of Ecuador, the Netherlands or Somalia.

The theme of this year's Refugee Day is ''Hope away from home''. It is meant to represent an environment where refugees are always included and feel accepted.  Integrating refugees into the local environment is the most effective way to support them in building a new life in their host country. Slovenia is aware of this.

In the past year, Slovenia recorded more than 15,000 applicants for international or temporary protection. Among them, more than 8,000 people, mainly women and children, sought refuge in Slovenia after fleeing the war in Ukraine.  In the past year, Slovenia has shown solidarity with people fleeing war and persecution, providing refugees with access to various forms of assistance and support, thus aiding their successful integration into local environments.

It is in integration where much progress is expected. The Ministry of the Interior, together with the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants (hereafter: the Office) and other stakeholders, is preparing an integration strategy that will address different areas of integration, while a decree is being drawn up that will define certain integration areas in more detail. In addition, the Office is also preparing a decree on the accommodation of the most vulnerable among the refugee population, namely unaccompanied minors.

On this occasion, I would like to congratulate all refugees who have chosen to seek a safe home outside your country. I would also like to thank all the non-governmental organisations and the many volunteers who help us to care for the people in need of our help," concluded the Director of the Office, Katarina Štrukelj, in her message on World Refugee Day.