28 July 2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention, which first legally defined who a refugee is, setting out the human rights of women, men and children fleeing the horrors of war and persecution to seek safety in another country.
To mark this anniversary, charity UK for UNHCR is asking the nation to help compile a dictionary that will define only one word: refugee. UK for UNHCR is encouraging everyone to take part, from those who have sought refuge in the UK or people who have family members who were refugees, to those who want to celebrate the positive role of refugees in the UK. The project aims to go beyond the word ‘refugee,’ exploring the wide variety of individual lives and stories of people who have sought refuge.
Lexicographer Susie Dent is helping launch the campaign alongside UK for UNHCR’s new trustee, Mevan Babakar. Mevan and her parents fled the Gulf war in the 1990s. They were refugees for 5 years. They eventually moved to London, where they settled and she now works as a deputy CEO.
Contributions to the dictionary, which will be unveiled on 28 July, can be made at www.unrefugees.org.uk/refugee-dictionary/ from 11 June 2021.