On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2022, Active Refugee Korea hosted a Refugee Manifesto Festival, “United By Hope” where refugees from various nationalities gathered to claim their rights, opportunities and hope in collaboration with the Korea Refugee Rights Network and Human Rights Foundation Saram. Active Refugee Korea (ARK) is an initiative by and for refugees in Korea. ARK was launched in 2022 by its first members from Egypt, Congo, Ethiopia, and Korea, who came together with a shared understanding of the need to make a real change in improving the rights of refugees living in Korea.

The festival events were colorful in various activities that marked the day with active participation by refugee communities who live in Korea, such as the Jumma people traditional dance, an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, a human chain and music and dance performed by invited artists, as well as exhibits by Congo, Syria and Yemen and local refugee rights organizations.

World Refugee Day was designated by the United Nations in 2001 marking the 50th anniversary of the Refugee Convention to remember and support millions of refugees fleeing conflicts and persecution. Every year, on World Refugee Day, people worldwide hold various events to celebrate the strength and contribution refugees make to life. In 2015, inspired by the experience of refugees who held hands to support each other when crossing the river to flee, hundreds of people in a small village in Europe made a human chain by holding their own hands to show solidarity. Since then, the citizens’ symbolic action to welcome refugees into host communities has spread across the world.

In marking World Refugee Day 2022, Active Refugee Korea launched <Refugee Manifesto: The Rights to Life> on June 19,2022 at Seoul Cheonggye plaza, outlining important points that must be guaranteed and secured for the dignified life of refugees and asylum seekers across the world. The manifesto was written in multiple languages including Korean, English, French, Arabic, Amharic and Bengali.

Refugee Manifesto: The Rights to Life

We came here to live, here to find life. Refugees are witnesses and survivors of the suffering of the World. And people who didn’t give up hope. We have the right to life, to live in freedom and safety.

We are different by all kinds of identities. But here, with one voice, we declare what our rights are:

The right to seek a safe place to live

Human rights regardless of status

No discrimination

Social security

Empowerment

Integration to society

No detentions

Being a refugee can happen to anyone, at any time. It’s a life circumstance, not an identity. People are all born free and equal. It is our hope that we all come together. We continue to move towards a world where all people are dignified.

We are united by hope.