UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, is hosting its Jam Festival 2021 to commemorate World Refugee Day, celebrating the power of inclusion for refugees and displaced people in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Jam Festival began streaming online on June 16 via UNHCR/ACNUR’s social media platforms. It ends June 20. Seventeen countries from Latin America and the Caribbean are participating in a variety of performances including dance, music, poetry and theatre, said a media release from UNHCR. The festival hopes to create a space where refugees, displaced people and their host communities can better co-operate, share, support and learn from each other.
The release said during the covid19 pandemic refugees and displaced people have had to step up and help take care of the communities in which they live, contributing to development and well-being. It said one of the goals of the festival is to show how, when given the opportunity, refugees and forcibly-displaced people can use their talents and skills to build a stronger, safer, more vibrant world.
The head of UNHCR’s office in Trinidad and Tobago, Miriam Aertker, said activities like the festival can bring about greater understanding. “It’s exciting to see displaced and host communities playing together for this year’s World Refugee Day in a way that highlights togetherness – the theme of this year's celebrations – and the power of inclusion.
"I believe the more we get to know each other, for example, through cultural activities like the Jam Festival, the more we can learn to understand each other’s stories and embrace diversity. Only if we work together, can we build bridges for a world in which we can shine, heal and learn together,” Aertker said in the release.
“We commend the Government of TT and host communities alike for their continuous efforts to include and support displaced people.”
UNHCR said that as the agency that leads the global response for protection and care for people who have been forced to flee their homes, it knows that inclusion and integration for refugees and those who are forcibly displaced is fundamental to build stronger societies. "UNHCR calls on communities and governments to allow these people access to services, education and sports."
World Refugee Day will be celebrated on June 20.