The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 20, 2002

Statement by the President

On World Refugee Day, I commend the determination and bravery of refugees fleeing tyranny in many parts of the world. This year's celebration focuses upon Refugee women. They deserve our special admiration for overcoming the daunting challenges they face every day. Today is also a time to be reminded of the terrible circumstances that drive people from their homelands in search of freedom and safety. America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity and the rule of law.

As a country that has seen so many refugees contribute so much to our society, this day has special meaning for Americans. I am proud that we are the largest donor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the world's leader in accepting refugees for resettlement. Today, I reaffirm our commitment to protect and assist refugees, promote their right to seek asylum, and provide opportunities for their resettlement, as needed.

This year in Afghanistan, over a million Afghan refugees are returning home to restart their lives in a country free of Taliban oppression. Americans are proud of our contribution to this progress and will continue to assist in these efforts.

This day we also recognize UNHCR and private voluntary organizations for their courage and tireless work under often extraordinarily difficult conditions. Their efforts bring hope to millions of refugees worldwide.

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