UNHCR commemorates World Refugee Day with partners in Thailand with “10th Refugee Film Festival”, the first movie night by the iconic Chaophraya River


Conflict and persecution have forced more than an estimated 80 million people around the world to flee their homes. COVID-19 has put a strain on health care, schools and our communities. Refugees and displaced people often struggle to find doctors to care for them when they are sick, schools for their children or even a place to run around and play. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, works together with refugees every day to help them access health care, education and sport to build better futures—but we need your help to achieve this. This World Refugee Day, an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe commemorated each year on 20 June, is an occasion to build empathy for and understanding of the plight of this group and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.

“UNHCR has continued to support the ongoing efforts of the Royal Thai Government (RTG) to put appropriate measures in place to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and recognises the strong commitment of the RTG to address the public health needs of refugees and other vulnerable groups during this challenging period,” said Mr. Giuseppe De Vincentiis, UNHCR Representative in Thailand.
“Around the world, refugee doctors, nurses, health-care technicians and volunteers have helped to fight the pandemic and given the chance, it is clear that refugees will continue to contribute to a stronger, safer and more vibrant world.”

This year, UNHCR in partnership with U.S. Embassy Bangkok, British Embassy Bangkok, Chao Phraya Express Boat and Tha Maharaj will commemorate World Refugee Day with its “10th Refugee Film Festival”, creative workshops, World Refugee Day Boat and poster artwork submitted by Thai people from all over the country for the first time by the iconic Chaophraya River on Saturday 19 – Sunday 20 June 2021 on 2nd floor, Tha Maharaj.

At the 10th Refugee Film Festival, we are showcasing stories of refugee resilience and capability in different areas. Runner portrays the journey of South Sudanese marathon runner Guor Mading Maker who fled from captivity in Sudan to seek safety in the United States. Runner depicts his difficult and triumphant journey from a refugee to a world-renowned Olympic athlete.

“This World Refugee Day, the United States celebrates our strong partnership with the Royal Thai Government, and we share our appreciation for UNHCR and our NGO partners for their humanitarian work. For the last 50 years, the United States and Thailand have worked together to protect and resettle over 500,000 refugees out of Thailand. The United States is proud to be the single largest supporter of refugees in Thailand and around the world, including for health care and education. Last year, we provided more than $26 million to support health care, COVID-19 prevention, food, and shelter for refugees and Thai communities in both Bangkok and in border regions,” said Honorable Michael Heath, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy Bangkok.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a British film based on a remarkable book and true story, with special screening permission provided by Netflix to inspire audiences, tells the story of a 13-year-old inventor who embarks on a daring plan to save and better the lives of his Malawian village from famine. Written by and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor a famous British actor, he also makes his feature-length directorial debut with this uplifting film.

“On this World Refugee Day, let us reflect that there is another group of people that need to be better protected and included to enable them to keep their education going. I hope The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind will inspire us and serve as a reminder that greater inclusion of refugees in education for us to achieve a sustainable future for all,” said Ms. Alexandra McKenzie, Deputy Ambassador, British Embassy Bangkok.

“The river has long been a presence in the everyday life of Thai people, and journeys by boat reflect the hopes and life-saving journeys of refugees. I hope that the World Refugee Day boat will inspire Thai people to come together in supporting one another in this difficult time of COVID-19 and bring hope for a new beginning of life for refugees,” said Mrs. Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram, Chairwoman of Chaophraya Express Boat and Supatra Group

For a second year, UNHCR has organized a Refugee Film Festival Poster Competition to raise awareness among Thai people by encouraging them to take part in raising their voice on behalf of refugees in any way that they can. From the 52 poster artworks submitted, congratulations to Mr. Patcharawut Jongcharoenwattana, the winner of the competition, whose poster is used throughout the event this year. His talent and creativity have helped UNHCR to share the message of this year’s World Refugee Day which is “Together we can achieve anything. Together we can heal, learn and shine.”

Activities for the 10th Refugee Film Festival will be held during Saturday 19 – Sunday 20 June 2021 on 2nd floor, Tha Maharaj.
In view of COVID-19 prevention measures, all activities are pre-registered for the first 20 persons per session and will be organized in open-air areas to strictly comply with social distancing and other safety measures.

Stay tuned on how we celebrate this year’s World Refugee Day at www.unhcr.org/th/world-refugee-day.