6-19-2012By Madeleine Bair
A. Whitney Ellsworth Communications Fellow
Wednesday marks the 12th commemoration of World Refugee Day. But like all such “days,” 24 hours hardly does this important issue justice.
All month, Human Rights First will highlight the struggles facing refugees around the world. We’ll focus on people we’ve gotten to know through our work providing pro-bono legal representation to asylum seekers. Over more than three decades, the volunteer lawyers Human Rights First has recruited and trained have helped thousands of refugees escape persecution and begin new lives in the United States.
So who are these asylum seekers? They are child soldiers, Buddhist monks, political activists, and surgeons. They’ve fled more than 85 countries for reasons ranging from genital mutilation to homophobic violence. Many continue their courageous advocacy once they resettle in the United States. The one thing they all share—along with all of us—is the yearning to live safely in freedom.
Throughout the summer we’ll be sharing their stories. We hope they will inspire you, as they have inspired us.