World Refugee Day 2019 - Doctors of the World

World Refugee Day 2019

The world is currently in the midst of the largest refugee crisis since World War II 

From Honduras to Bangladesh, millions of people have been uprooted by conflict and poverty

An unprecedented 70.8 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide, and 37,000 people are forced to flee their homes every day due to conflict or persecution. 

This World Refugee Day, we are honoring and celebrating the resilience of refugees from around the world, who are struggling to survive in incredibly difficult circumstances. 

Providing medical assistance to refugees and migrants on the move is at the core of Doctors of the World’s lifesaving work.

Today, we’re highlighting the stories of refugees that we work with, our network’s efforts to connect refugees to healthcare, and our advocacy activities in countries where refugee rights are under threat. 


In 2018, 139,330 people applied for asylum in France. Refugees hail from a variety of countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Syria. 

It is becoming increasingly complicated for refugees to gain access to healthcare within France. Our French clinics and health centers provide refugees with access to free healthcare, irregardless of their immigration status. 




Born in Jerusalem, Muzian has been a refugee for 52 years. She has been relocated multiple times over the years between different refugee camps, often living in extremely difficult conditions. Despite losing everything, her family was able to start a small shop in Shu’fat refugee camp. According to UNRWA’s figures, Shu’fat refugee camp hosts approximately 24,000 people. Our team works in Shu’fat refugee camp providing mental health and psychosocial support to ex-detainee children and young adults, as well as their families. 


In Portugal, our teams provide free medical care and psychosocial support to refugees from over 24 countries including Angola, Ukraine, Pakistan, and Venezuela. 

We support refugees from the moment they arrive in the country until they have fully integrated into their new host communities.

Le Monde - Migrants


Luisa* fled Honduras with her children after she found out her 9 year old daughter was being abused by her mother’s partner. “The person that abused my daughter was eventually arrested. But my mother stopped talking to me and said she was going to give my number and address to her partner’s family. She said we did not deserve to live. I was threatened and feared the repercussions. So we left. My children have been very strong throughout the journey. I hope that when we reach the United States we will be granted asylum.” (*Name changed to protect identity). 


In Bangladesh, Doctors of the World is actively responding to the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis that began in 2017 when 700,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar across the border into Bangladesh. 

Our teams are working to strengthen the public health infrastructure of the Kutupalong refugee camp and have provided access to healthcare for thousands of people. 


In Germany, Doctors of the World provides medical care and psychiatric consultations for refugees and migrants that are being held in government facilities. The vast majority are waiting to hear if they will be granted asylum or if they will be deported. 

We spoke to Franziska Maul, Mental Health Coordinator for Doctors of the World Germany to hear more the conditions in these facilities. 


In Belgium, our teams have conducted numerous studies in order to inform our advocacy efforts for refugees and migrants. Their latest study focuses on the experiences of asylum seekers from Niger, Morocco, and Tunisia. 

Our teams found that more than 80% had experienced sexual or institutional violence during their migration journey. We spoke with Estelle, the Medical Advisor for Doctors of the World Belgium’s migration efforts, to learn more.