A panel discussion “An Iowa Perspective on the Refugee Crisis and the United Nations Response” will be held in person and via live steam on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City.

The live stream of the event may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/thelibrarychannel

As of 2022, the number of refugees and other forcibly displaced people has swelled to nearly 100 million worldwide, mostly women and children. A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, works every day to aid these victims of war, famine, and oppression.

Dec. 10 is Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948. Article 14 of the Declaration states that refugees are entitled to asylum in other countries. Subsequent international agreements give refugees all the rights to which other people are entitled. The 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be celebrated on Dec. 10, 2023. This year’s Human Rights Day slogan is “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All” and the call to action is #StandUp4HumanRights.

The panelists are Chris Boian, UNHCR (virtually); Elizabeth Bernal, an immigrant from Mexico and co-founder of Open Heartland; Re Noe, a refugee from Burma (Myanmar), a staff member with EMBARC, an agency benefitting Burmese refugees; Solange Bashige, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Mak Suceska, a one-time refugee from Bosnia and director of Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services. They will share their stories and perspectives on refugee rights.

The Refugee and Immigrant Association will honor two members of the local refugee community: Felicien Nkhulikiye and Immaculee Mukahigiro.

The sponsors of the event are the Johnson County Chapter of the United Nations Association -USA, the Iowa City Office of Equity and Human Rights, the Iowa City Public Library, and the Refugee and Immigrant Association.

Date of publication

Thursday, December 01, 2022