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Millions Mark World Refugee Day


U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says World Refugee Day is a reminder of the international responsibility to keep hope alive for millions of people forced far from their homes.

Mr. Annan is observing World Refugee Day Tuesday in Europe. He noted the number of official refugees in the world is at its lowest point in 26 years, standing at 8.4 million people.

But the U.N. refugee agency also reports that civil wars have created as many as 25 million internally displaced persons, or IDP's who are not entitled to the same international protection and care as those classified as refugees.

People around the globe attended art exhibits, concerts, speeches and award ceremonies Tuesday to remember refugees.

Canada's immigration minister announced plans for his nation to take in more than 800 refugees from Burma in the coming months.

And the U.N. refugee agency launched a campaign to raise money for education and sports for refugee youth.

The U.N. estimates six million refugees have returned home in the past four years, and the refugee agency chief is urging the international community to help such people re-establish their lives in their homelands.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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