VOC’s Dr. Eric Patterson in Fox News

VOC’s President and CEO Dr. Eric Patterson writes for Fox News on marking World Refugee Day and remembering the victims of authoritarian regimes that have been forced to flee their homes throughout history.

As Dr. Patterson notes, “on June 20 we recognized World Refugee Day – a day set aside every year to remember vulnerable people who have fled their country out of fear of further persecution if they were to return. 

Who are the perpetrators of this persecution? Over much of the past century, communist and totalitarian regimes have been the biggest cause of refugees. 

World Refugee Day is rooted in the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees. Article One of this U.N. convention defines a refugee as someone who, ‘owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of [their] nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail [himself or herself] of the protection of that country.’

In the context of 1951, it would be ridiculous to think that there were masses of refugees from the United States, Canada, Great Britain or other Western democracies fleeing eastward seeking the protection of the Soviet Union. 

Rather, by 1951 there were millions of people who no longer felt safe in going home because of their Christian faith, because they were an ethnic minority from a country that had been gobbled up by the Soviet Union, such as the Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians, or because they were publicly on record as pro-democracy, such as many Poles, Hungarians and Czechs.

Read the full article from Fox News.

Dr. Eric Patterson is President and CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.