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Refugee day emoji released

18 June 20200 comments

The United Nations’ refugee agency UNHCR has partnered with 22-year-old Ivorian artist O’Plérou for the launch of the 2020 World Refugee Day emoji.

The emoji, two hands linked together in the shape of a heart, symbolises solidarity and diversity.

World Refugee Day is marked on 20 June each year to celebrate the courage and resilience of the tens of millions of people forced to flee their homes due to war or persecution.

Twitter will activate the 2020 World Refugee Day emoji with the hashtags #WorldRefugeeDay, #RefugeeDay and #WithRefugees in 12 languages. The emoji is live until 23 June.

A Twitter spokesperson said that the platform was created so that anyone, anywhere, can answer the question ‘What’s happening?’

“In doing so, it has become a place for global communities including journalists, human rights activists and citizens to connect on issues that matter, share information, and speak truth to power,” the spokesperson said.

“On #WorldRefugeeDay, we are proud to continue our partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with the creation of this emoji, which aims to generate awareness through the power of the service, to demonstrate solidarity and to honour the resilience of refugees worldwide,” he said.

Mr O’Plérou, the emoji designer, is passionate about bringing attention to refugees around the world.

Friends of his family had to flee Côte d’Ivoire during the 2010 political crisis.

“Refugees are people just like us,” he said. “Through my work, I try to showcase diversity so we can better understand each other and achieve greater solidarity,” Mr O’Plérou said.

He hit world headlines in 2019 after creating 365 emojis to portray the beauty of West African culture and combat negative stereotypes.

Mr O’Plérou was named in Forbes’ Africa 30 Under 30 list of young men and women forging the continent’s future with creative and innovative ideas in the fields of business, art, technology and sports.

This year’s World Refugee Day comes at a time of increased forced displacement and against a backdrop of dramatic social change.

The COVID-19 pandemic and recent anti-racism protests have underscored the need for a more inclusive and equitable world.

UNHCR and its partners have been stepping up their efforts to protect millions of refugees and other forcibly displaced and stateless people.

“This emoji is a visual expression of diversity, inclusion and solidarity – and the power of hope over fear,” said Gisella Lomax, Head of Social Media at UNHCR.

“Sharing it is just one way to show support for the world’s forcibly displaced people on World Refugee Day and beyond.”