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August 16, 2016

Refugee Athletes Score for Millions at Olympics

Ten top athletes, forced by conflict and persecution to flee their homes, have been given a chance to compete in the 2016 Rio Games in Brazil. At a time when more than 65 million people are displaced—many of them children—the participation of a Refugee Olympic Team sends a powerful signal of hope to refugees around the world. In recognition of this, The Salvation Army has supported Team Refugees. UNICEF and the United Nations High Commission have developed the initiative for refugees in partnership with many other agencies.

Lt. Colonel Dean Pallant, director of The Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission, explains:

“The Salvation Army is deeply concerned that millions and millions of people are today displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution. This global tragedy is not receiving enough attention. Solutions are needed now. Amid the misery and suffering, the participation of 10 world-class refugee athletes in the Rio 2016 Olympics is a reminder that refugees are people with abilities, skills and God-given talents… and a sign of our support for all the women, men, girls and boys who are refugees and asylum seekers.”

Meanwhile, more than 100 Salvation Army volunteers gathered in Rio to undertake mission activities in venues across the city. With international team members representing countries as far afield as Australia, Iceland and Canada, sport becomes the “common language” as the life-changing message of the gospel is taken to the favelas.

  • More information about The Salvation Army’s Rio 2016 sports ministry and outreach can be found at and by using the #SArio2016 hashtag across social media
  • Details about Team Refugees, including videos and more information about UNHCR and UNICEF can be found at
  • The Salvation Army continues to respond to the ongoing refugee situation in Europe – see for information.

- Source: Salvation Army International News Service


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