Protection of refugees is an obligation under international law, not a matter of solidarity or generosity: António Guterres
#WorldRefugeeDay, #AntónioGuterres, #JustinTrudeau, #AhmedHussen, #ChrystiaFreeland, #Mélanie Joly, #LauraAlbanese, #Marie-ClaudeBibeau
Toronto, June 20 (Canadian-Media): While observing World Refugee Day today, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on the international community to provide support and solidarity to a the largest number of displaced people.
World Refugee Day. Image credit: Pinterest
Last year, approximately 65.6 million people were forcibly uprooted from their homes by violence and persecution.
In his opening remarks at a press conference Guterres stated, “Today, World Refugee Day, is, as you can imagine, a day full of emotions for me. It is impossible to be ten years as High Commissioner for Refugees, doing my best to try to help the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, without changing your life… And this was the reason why I became candidate for Secretary-General of the United Nations.”
Guterres continued that, at present, we are witnessing the largest number of refugees and added their protection is not a matter of solidarity or generosity, it is an obligation under international law. He continued,
“We are still witnessing many remarkable examples of solidarity in today’s world. But at the same time, we are seeing more and more borders being closed…This is particularly worrying, especially when associated to forms of political populism, xenophobia, racism, in which refugees become a target,” Mr. Guterres said, “many times being accused of being part of the terror threat when refugees are not terrorists – they are the first victims of terror, they are fleeing terror; that is why they are refugees...But the truth is that at the same time, countries are asking those in the developing world that host the largest number of refugees to keep them but are not providing the necessary support for that to be possible. Stronger solidarity with refugee-hosting countries in the global South is absolutely a must…On World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20th, we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. This year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee.”
Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on World Refugee Day:
"On World Refugee Day, we honour the strength and resilience of the millions of people around the world fleeing conflict...Today, over 65 million people are displaced around the world, and more than 22 million of them are refugees…Canadians are fortunate to live in a country shaped, over the centuries, by the dreams and hard work of millions of immigrants and refugees...Today, I call on Canadians and people around the world to stand with people seeking shelter from enormous hardship and violence. Refugees are forced to leave home, but they carry with them dreams for their children and the hope of creating a better world. Let us show compassion for their plight, recognize their dignity, and continue to see ourselves in each other.”
Ahmed Hussen, Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; Chrystia Freeland, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs; Marie-Claude Bibeau, Federal Minister of International Development and la Francophonie; and Mélanie Joly, Federal Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism today issued the following statement on World Refugee Day:
“Canada is deeply concerned by the unprecedented numbers of children, women and men fleeing conflict and persecution around the world…As we mark World Refugee Day, we are reminded that we must all do what we can to help the most vulnerable...We are committed to maintaining this humanitarian tradition...As we celebrate Canada 150, we must take the opportunity to reflect on our past. There is no doubt that Canada’s strong humanitarian tradition has helped shape this country. Canada is a country that values compassion, openness and diversity. These are the principles that we honour on this World Refugee Day.”
Laura Albanese, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, was at Paramount Fine Foods Restaurant in Mississauga today to mark World Refugee Day and announced new provincial support to help refugees and other newcomers succeed.
Ontario had taken a leadership role in Canada's humanitarian efforts, she said, to help refugees and save lives, welcoming more than 28,000 refugees from across the world resettling in Ontario last year.
These newcomers had already started to give back to their communities.
“Ontario has a long tradition of welcoming those fleeing war and oppression and our government is continuing to play a leading role in supporting the settlement and integration of the growing number of refugees and newcomers settling in the province.…I encourage both service providers and employers to leverage the talents, skills and experiences of these newcomers and provide them with the opportunity to grow and thrive in our province,” said Laura Albanese
The province is investing $17.5 million in new funding, as part of the 2017 budget, over two years to enhance services for refugees and vulnerable newcomers.
Ontario received over 110,000 immigrants in 2016 and welcomed over 28,000 refugees as permanent residents.
Ontario is investing In 2017-18 over $110 million in newcomer and refugee support programs including settlement, employment programs and language training.
“These investments by the Provincial Government will contribute to the successful integration of refugees and vulnerable newcomers. The additional resources will support targeted interventions that help newcomers achieve their full potential,” Mario Calla, Executive Director, COSTI was reported to state.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)