Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

June 20, 2009 10:13 ET

Canada Celebrates World Refugee Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 20, 2009) - Today, the Government of Canada joins the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in celebrating World Refugee Day. As part of these celebrations, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney also launched a short video that highlights the experiences of one refugee family.

"This video recounts the experiences of a family who had the courage to start their lives anew in Canada with the help of a service provider organization," said Minister Kenney. "I have had the privilege of meeting hundreds of former refugees across Canada. I've seen first-hand how they bring their hopes and dreams to Canada and enrich our society. As a Canadian, I am proud of our long history of helping those in need."

Canada accepts more than 30,000 refugees every year including those who come to Canada and successfully claim refugee status and refugees living overseas whom Canada agrees to resettle.

Canada's refugee protection system also benefits from a strong partnership of governmental and non-governmental organizations and private citizens through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. Thirty years ago, Canadians came together through this program to help resettle more than 60,000 Indochinese refugees in just two years. Through the private sponsorship program, Canadians have now resettled more than 200,000 refugees from across the globe.

"Canada will continue working with the UNHCR and other international organizations to help refugees worldwide gain security in their lives," said the Minister of International Cooperation, Beverley J. Oda. "Our government is committed to working with our partners and continuing to respond to the refugees' increasing need for assistance."

In the past year, the Government of Canada announced an increase in the target for privately sponsored Iraqi refugees for each of the next three years. In addition, Canada has selected over 1,000 Bhutanese refugees for resettlement who have been living in refugee camps in Nepal for over 20 years. More than 340 of these refugees have already arrived in Canada with more to come this year. In total, Canada expects to resettle up to 5,000 Bhutanese refugees.

The Government of Canada also continues to welcome the arrival of Vietnamese people, who fled communist terror and persecution and who have been living in the Philippines without status since the late 1970s. Canada is facilitating the immigration of over 160 people through the use of humanitarian and compassionate consideration.

"We are grateful to Canada for its commitment and long-standing support in responding to the needs of refugees and the world's uprooted people," said Mr. Abraham Abraham, representative of the UNHCR in Canada. "Today as the world marks World Refugee Day and turns its attention to refugees under the theme "Real People, Real Needs," let us remember refugees for their determination to start new lives as well as for their contributions to their newly adopted land in Canada. While we remember, we must not forget the hospitality and generosity of the Government of Canada and its people who make this possible."

On this day, Minister Kenney acknowledged not only the leadership of the UNHCR, but the role of other international organizations, such as the International Organization for Migration, in assisting people who are in flight. "At home, as well, we could not do what we do without the cooperation and contribution of provincial and territorial governments, service providers and private sponsors, because ensuring protection is only the beginning of restoring dignity and meaning to the lives of refugees," said Minster Kenney.

To view the "Refugee Resettlement Program" video, visit the CIC Web site (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/multimedia/video/becoming_canadian/refugee/refugee.asp) or go to YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4umISJ9CjeE).

For more information on World Refugee Day and Canada's refugee protection programs, visit the CIC Web site at http://www.cic.gc.ca.

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