Scotland rolls out the welcome mat to mark World Refugee Day

Event to be held 11-12pm Wednesday 20 June, George Square.

Hundreds of people are expected to mark World Refugee Day by laying out dozens of welcome mats in Glasgow’s George Square to show solidarity with those who have been forced to flee their homes.

The event is being coordinated by Amnesty Scotland, Oxfam Scotland and Scottish Refugee Council as part of Refugee Festival Scotland, an annual celebration of the contribution refugee communities make to life in Scotland. The organisers hope the gathering in George Square will send a strong message to the world that Scotland welcomes refugees.

Samba musicians will be providing lively accompaniment to the day. Messages of welcome written by people from across Scotland to new arrivals will also be read. Attendees will be encouraged to participate in Refuweegee’s Letter Fae a Local campaign by writing their own letter of welcome.

The organisers hope the celebratory event will demonstrate the friendship and goodwill towards refugees that exists in Scotland.

Scotland has so far resettled 2,224 refugees from Syria, nearly a fifth of the total number who have been resettled to the UK.

Naomi McAuliffe, Amnesty International’s Scotland Programme Director, said: “No-one chooses to be a refugee, to risk their losing their families or their lives on dangerous journeys to unknown destinations. On World Refugee Day, let’s remember that, and focus on the things that connect us as human beings such as our names and personal stories. We must stand together in solidarity to welcome refugees and refuse to let fear and prejudice win.”

Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “Throughout history Scotland has welcomed refugees; providing safety, friendship and hospitality. World Refugee Day provides us with an important opportunity for us all to demonstrate that we will continue to stand together in solidarity, and also to celebrate the rich contributions New Scots have made towards our culture, communities and country.”

Sabir Zazai, CEO of Scottish Refugee Council, said: “We are gathering in Glasgow today to say loud and clear that refugees are welcome here. We believe, as so many people in Scotland do, that people in need of safety should be treated with dignity and respect and shown friendship and hospitality as they rebuild their lives here. This gathering, and all the events throughout Refugee Festival Scotland, show that there is an alternative to the hostile environment, that communities are stronger, richer and happier when we unite and recognise each other as neighbours
and friends.”

The event in George Square coincides with a free pop up display of Museum Without A Home: an award-winning touring exhibition which has found temporary refuge in Glasgow City Chambers as part of Refugee Festival Scotland.

Museum Without A Home exhibits everyday objects given by people in Greece and the UK to people seeking safety in their countries. They include a kettle, a toy car, some colouring books, a cooking pot and a backpack; items that may appear mundane but are deeply meaningful for the refugees who were given them.

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For more information please contact Rebecca Lozza, Media and Communications Officer, Oxfam Scotland, on 0141 285 8875 / 07880785159 or


  • The stunt will take place on Wednesday 20 June from 11am.
  • The World Refugee Day stunt is being led by Oxfam Scotland, Amnesty International and the Scottish Refugee Council. It is being supported by several other organisations including Refuweegee, Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees, the British Red Cross and Global Justice Now Scotland.
  • Museum Without A Home runs from Monday 18-22 June in Glasgow City Chambers. Find out more here:
  • Refugee Festival Scotland is produced by Scottish Refugee Council and runs from 15 June to 24 June 2018. For more details and to download the programme in full: