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June 20, 2010
World Refugee Day
The United Nations is marking World Refugee Day by urging governments and individuals not to forget the 15 million men, women and children who have been uprooted by conflict or persecution and are unable to return to their homes. The theme for this year's observance on 20 June is "Home," and highlights the need to ensure that all refugees can have a place to call home, whether they return to their places of origin, settle in host countries or re-settle in a third country. "Refugees have been deprived of their homes, but they must not be deprived of their futures," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to mark the Day, calling for working with host Governments to deliver services, and intensifying efforts to resolve conflicts so that refugees can return home. A recent report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted a decline in the number of refugees who are able to go home. In 2005, more than a million people returned to their own country on a voluntary basis. Last year, only 250,000 did so - the lowest number in two decades. The reasons for this include prolonged instability in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and southern Sudan. (26 images)

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Ethnic Uzbek refugees cross the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border on their way back to Kyrgyzstan near the village of Vlksm some 20 km outside Osh on June 18, 2010. The World Health Organisation said today that it was working on a worst-case estimate that the crisis in Kyrgyzstan may affect up to one million people, about a third of whom could be refugees. AFP / Getty Images / Viktor Drachev


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Ethnic Uzbek refugees cross the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border on their way back to Kyrgyzstan on June 17, 2010 outside a village of Nariman. Deadly inter-ethnic clashes that erupted in Kyrgyzstan a week ago have forced at least 400,000 people to flee the country or their home. AFP / Getty Images / Oxana Onipko



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Ethnic Uzbek refugees cross the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border on their way back to Kyrgyzstan near the village of Vlksm some 20 km outside Osh on June 18, 2010. AFP / Getty Images / Viktor Drachev



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Kyrgyz refugees stand by their tent at sunset on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border near the village of Dostukh outside Osh on June 19, 2010. AFP / Getty Images / Viktor Drachev



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A refugee family from Myanmar's ethnic Chin tribe stays inside a small apartment, that houses more then twenty asylum-seekers, in down town Kuala Lumpur on June 17, 2010. The United Nations' (UN) World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 each year. AFP / Getty Images / Saeed Khan



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A refugee family from Myanmar's ethnic Chin tribe spend their afternoon time inside a small apartment, that houses more then twenty asylum-seekers, in down town Kuala Lumpur on June 17, 2010. AFP / Getty Images / Saeed Khan



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Refugees from Myanmar's ethnic Chin tribe get sewing lessons at a school in down town Kuala Lumpur. AFP / Getty Images / Saeed Khan



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A refugee woman from Myanmar's ethnic Chin tribe cuts vegetables inside a small apartment that houses more then twenty asylum-seekers in down town Kuala Lumpur on June 17, 2010. AFP / Getty Images / Saeed Khan



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A refugee family from Myanmar's ethnic Chin tribe spend their afternoon in a small apartment that houses more then twenty asylum-seekers in down town Kuala Lumpur on June 17, 2010. AFP / Getty Images / Saeed Khan



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An Afghan child from Helmand province stands outside mud shelters for the displaced on the outskirts of Kabul on June 20, 2010. The United Nations' World Refugee Day, observed on June 20 each year, honours the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence. AFP / Getty Images / Shah Marai



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A displaced Afghan girl from Helmand province, seen draped in a burqa, stands outside mud shelters for the displaced on the outskirts of Kabul on June 20, 2010. AFP / Getty Images / Shah Marai



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Anikar, an 11-year-old Afghan girl who has lived in Malaysia for the last two years looks on as she and other refugees attend a World Refugee day performance in Kuala Lumpur Saturday, June 19, 2010. June 20th marks World Refugee Day, a day to remember the plight of refugees around the world and to recall global attention for the refugees. AP / Vincent Thian



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An Afghan refugee girl walks towards her home at a poor neighborhood on outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan on Sunday, June 20, 2010. AP / Anjum Naveed



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An Afghan man pushes a cart containing used building materials at the Afghan colony on the outskirt of Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, June 20, 2010. AP / Dita Alangkara



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Afghan boys play at the Afghan colony on the outskirt of Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, June 20, 2010. AP / Dita Alangkara



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Afghan boys eat mangoes at the Afghan colony on the outskirt of Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, June 20, 2010. AP / Dita Alangkara



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An Afghan refugee boy holds his younger sister as he sits outside his mud house at a poor neighborhood on outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan on Sunday, June 20, 2010. AP / Anjum Naveed



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Afghan refugees boys buy food stuff locally called 'Kabab' from food stall on outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan on Sunday, June 20, 2010. AP / Anjum Naveed



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Bosnian Muslim 12-year-old boy Hukic Samir, plays near to a coal mining transportation facility near the collective center for refuges built 1995, background, where Samir's family settled after being displaced from their home as refuges from eastern Bosnia in 1992, near Banovici, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 60 kms north of Sarajevo, on Monday, June 6, 2010. AP / Amel Emric



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Refugee Bosnian Muslim girls play outside the collective center for refugees built in 1995, in the village of Spionica, near Bosnian town of Srebrenik, 90km north of Sarajevo on Monday, June 6, 2010. AP / Amel Emric



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A Bosnian Muslim man Husein Mehanovic is reflected in a mirror in a small room in a collective center for refugees built in 1995, in the village of Spionica, near Bosnian town of Srebrenik, 90km north of Sarajevo on Monday June 6, 2010. AP / Amel Emric



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A Bosnian Muslim boy Rijad Salihovic,10, looks on while Azra Mustafic, 8, plays with a wooden plank and a tennis ball in a collective center for refugees built in 1995, in the village of Spionica, near Bosnian town of Srebrenik, 90km north of Sarajevo on June 6, 2010. AP / Amel Emric



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A Bosnian Muslim woman Hasnija Mehanovic and her daughter Jasmina Mehanovic, 5, rocks her son Jasmin, 2, in a wooden cradle in a small room in a collective center for refugees built in 1995, in the village of Spionica, near the Bosnian town of Srebrenik, 90km north of Sarajevo on June 6, 2010. AP / Amel Emric



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Bosnian Muslim girl Mehanovic Jasmina, 5, sits in front of her small room in a center for refugees built in 1995, in the village of Spionica, near the Bosnian town of Srebrenik, 90km north of Sarajevo on June 6, 2010. AP / Amel Emric



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Palestinian refugee boys run past graffiti on a wall in the Jenin refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on June 20, 2010, as the UN marked the annual international refugee week. AFP / Getty Images / Saif Dahlah



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Palestinian children play at Al-Amari refugee camp in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Sunday, June 20, 2010. AP / Majdi Mohammed



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