Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Refugee Convention
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
Today we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention. At this time of historic global forced displacement, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have exacerbated the challenges refugees face, making the international commitments in the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol more vital than ever. We are committed to supporting refugees globally with our humanitarian leadership, diplomatic efforts to uphold refugee protection, advocacy for and support to durable solutions for refugees, and by upholding our international non-refoulement obligations.
We continue to be the world’s largest single donor of humanitarian assistance. In Fiscal Year 2020, we provided more than $10.5 billion in humanitarian aid globally, including assistance for refugees.
We also are once again taking up the mantle of leadership on refugee resettlement, including through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which has settled more than 3.1 million refugees since 1980. This program reflects America’s highest values and finest traditions. That is why we have raised the annual refugee admissions target to 62,500 for Fiscal Year 2021 and restored regional allocations for resettlement to ensure that access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is based on refugees’ vulnerability, responds to the emergency need for resettlement across all regions of the world, and reflects the American tradition of welcoming refugees. This Administration is putting America’s highest values at the center of our foreign policy and offering reassurance to persecuted people for whom permanent resettlement is needed.
More broadly, the Convention and Protocol, as well as the principle of non-refoulement, continue to guide the international community in its approach to refugee crises around the world. They help to guide the international community in ensuring refugees’ access to services while displaced, and the United States continues to support broader responsibility-sharing and assistance to refugee-hosting countries.
The United States appreciates the work of humanitarian partners around the globe, who embody the spirit of the Refugee Convention. We join them in working to provide refuge and protection to the world’s most vulnerable.