Skopje – Under the slogan Whoever, Wherever, Whenever – Everyone has the right to seek safety, MARRI Regional Centre together with representatives of many institutions, organisations, asylum seekers and refugees in Skopje marked the World Refugee Day 2022 with a bicycle tour in the City Park in Skopje and along the Vardar river. Led by the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the participants rode bicycles to send the message that we all share the responsibility to protect people seeking security and that everyone has the right to seek asylum.
The UNHCR Representative Monica Sandri greeted the attendees stating that recently, a grim milestone has been marked: the number of people forced to flee conflict, war, persecution and human rights abuses crossed the 100 million mark for the first time on record. “This year alone, the war in Ukraine has displaced over 7 million people within the country and more than 5 million across the country’s borders. In addition, there is new or continued violence in Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and others. These numbers are staggering, and unacceptable. But, by being here today, you have shown that you stand with refugees and that you are committed to protecting each and every person forced to flee – whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whenever they are forced to flee”- said Ms. Sandri.
On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the North Macedonia Minister of Labour and Social Policy Jovanka Trenchevska sent the message that ”People forced to flee their homes should be welcomed with open arms and with dignity. They should be offered safe haven and the opportunity to find peace with their families, without feeling discriminated against and cut off from society.
Our country (North Macedonia) and our citizens, in many previous refugee crises, have proved that humanity is above all and the protection of the most vulnerable is a priority of the state. That is why the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy remains committed to achieving the humanitarian, social and development goals, which strengthens a just and inclusive society, especially for refugees, guided by the slogan: Everyone has the right to be safe!”
MARRI RC Director Sashko Kocev who guided a part of the tour, thanked everyone who came to express their support and solidarity for the refugees, adding that the bike tour was a small gesture but made with a firm conviction that the little acts will mount to a meaningful change. “We have great professionals and volunteers across the region who tirelessly work to overcome the crisis and provide protection for the refugees, but we can do more. Wherever and whenever we can.” – concluded Director Kocev.
The bike tour was co-organized by following institutions and organisations in North Macedonia: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ombudsman, MARRI, United Nations North Macedonia, International Organization for Migration, Red Cross of the City of Skopje, Macedonian Young Lawyers Association, Youth Educational Forum, and the Center for Refugee Law and Migration at the Faculty of Law Iustinianus Primus – Skopje.