Mehmet Ungan - signing the #withrefugees petition

Prof Mehmet Ungan, WONCA Europe President Elect, of Turkey, writes:

Dear Colleagues

Everyday is a refugee day for us in this region especially in Turkey since 2012 when we started to see refugees but especially as June 20, was World Refugee Day.

I have been in the wonderful event organized by UNHCR Communication and  Branding Office and affected a lot. That is why I am writing. The WONCA Europe Conference Statement from Istanbul was on this subject but such statements need follow up.
WONCA Europe Istanbul statement on the refugee crisis
More than 65 million people forced to flee their homes due to war, persecution and violence. Each single minute 20 are forced leaving home some way in the world.

This is a moment to remember and to make people around us to remember the migrants - 21 million of them are refugees and half of them are children without a chance to choose their parents, no chance to choose place of birth, and naturally could not choose their religion when they were born.

While most of the refugees want to go back home, like recent refugees from Syria, most cannot. In Turkey, we are helping as much as we can. The Government of Turkey has been hosting refugees since the 1990s but a huge number remained in Turkey. If they feel temporary they have been treated as guests and if they feel at home they were treated as citizens, brothers and sisters. That is partly because there have been more than 5 million living here at present (around 3 million according to official UNHCR numbers). Almost more than the population of some of the countries in Europe.

It is a fact that 84% of the refugees are being hosted by developing countries not by developed countries. The courage and determination demonstrated during the darkest moments serves them well in rebuilding a new life also with a little luck.

Through family practice we also have witnessed the courage, tenacity and brilliance of refugees every single day, like mentioned in UNHCR documents.

Yes, as part of World Refugee Day lets honor refugees for these qualities and recognize the richness and diversity they brought to our societies.

On behalf of our family practice and medical team I have signed the support letter in the activity organized by UNHCR. I was the 3rd one to sign. I know my signature with others calls on all governments to "keep their promise". Yes, that is possible by signing the #withrefugees petition.

By signing we are asking the governments to make sure:

1. Every refugee child gets an education
2. Every refugee family has somewhere safe to live
3. Every refugee can work or learn new skills to support their families.

And I would like to add a fourth one from the WONCA Family,
4. Every refugee accesses free, primary health care all around the world.

I hope to see all met by the governments

Sign the #withrefugees petition
Kind regards
Mehmet Ungan