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New Football Refugee Day receives backing from UN High Commissioner

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New Football Refugee Day receives backing from UN High Commissioner

Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, is supporting this European initiative which has been launched by a group of NGOs and football organisations to mark the UN World Refugee Day on 20 June.

The European Football Refugee Day celebrates the power of football to overcome the exclusion of refugees and asylum seekers. It also highlights the contribution of refugees to the game. In support of the Football Refugee Day initiative the Portuguese commissioner stated:

"Sport is an amazing way to break down barriers and build bridges between communities. It gives young people a sense of self worth and focus and lets them set aside cultural differences in a constructive, non-violent way".

Over the week-end partners in seven European countries, linked to the Sport Inclusion Network (SPIN) project, organised multi-cultural football tournaments and public events with refugees. The events will raise awareness about refugees and the continued plight of millions of people throughout the world forced to flee their homes and seek refuge and protection.

Further support for refugees in Hungary and Austria
To celebrate the World Refugee Day on 20 June the Hungarian FARE partner Mahatma Gandhi Human Rights Organisation organised an event inside the biggest refugee camp in Hungary at Bicske, some 35 km from Budapest.

Following a debate with representatives of UNHCR, the Immigration Office, the Bicske Refugee camp and African human- rights activists’, various football matches were played. The football teams in action were from the Debrecen and Bicske refugee camp as well as African Stars FC. The refugees also engaged in cultural performances to display their rich culture.

Further west in Austria, FairPlay-VIDC invited young asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors for a seven-a-side-tournament in Vienna. Eight teams were selected from a range of NGOs working with refugees.

The Football Refugee Day event is part of the popular festival of Austrian Forum Asylum which took place on 18 June in the Vienna Augarten. The award ceremony for the teams was integrated into the evening programme of the festival.

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FairPlay

Published

Sunday, June 19, 2011 - 23:00

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