Refugee Children’s Space for Fun at UNHCR’s Second Refugee Carnival

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 June 2007 - Refugee children today enjoyed a rare day of treats, fun and game at a Carnival organized specially for them by volunteers and staff of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Some 230 refugee children, mostly from Myanmar, attended the Carnival which had been held for the second year. Due to trauma and displacement, refugee children are often denied a childhood, and the Carnival provides a safe space for these children to experience fun like any other Malaysian child.

"People living in the margins of any society, like refugees, due to their plight, need a treat. In conjunction with World Refugee Day, we wanted to provide refugee children this gift," said Dr Volker Türk, UNHCR Representative.

"Many corporate companies and individuals came forward to donate food, gifts and toys so that refugee children can enjoy treats that would otherwise be out of their reach. UNHCR is grateful for the generosity shown by Malaysians who care about the plight of refugees."

World Refugee Day is held on 20 June every year. It is a salute to the indomitable spirit and courage of the world’s refugees, not just in enduring the dangers and violence of the crises that made them refugees, but also in the courage they show in rebuilding their lives and contributing to society in difficult or unfamiliar circumstances. The theme of World Refugee Day this year is celebrating refugee children and listening to their hopes and dreams.

"Due to the success of the inaugural Carnival last year, UNHCR has once again partnered with dozens of volunteers to organize this second Carnival," said Dr Türk.

Like in the previous year, this year’s Carnival aims to create a space for refugee children to play outdoors and to provide a rare opportunity for refugee children to enjoy treats and games.

There are some 47,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in Malaysia today.

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