Canadian Government contribution to the UN Refugee Agency surpasses all time levels



    OTTAWA, June 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's annual contribution so far this
year to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) amounts to
over 51 million Canadian dollars, making this the highest ever annual Canadian
contribution to the UN Refugee Agency. The generous contribution of the
Government of Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency
(CIDA), comes as a response to appeals launched by the UNHCR for funding its
activities worldwide for the calendar year 2009.
    "This is a concrete example of Canada's unfailing support to refugees and
the world's uprooted people," said Mr. Abraham ABRAHAM, UNHCR Representative
in Canada. "We are highly encouraged by Canada's generosity. Canada has
remained a reliable donor to the cause of the neediest people, despite the
current world economic and financial slowdown and this is laudable," added
Abraham.
    Canada's level of contributions to the UN Refugee Agency has been
increasing over recent years. While the year 2008 with more than 42 million
Canadian dollars, marked the second highest contribution since 1992 when
Canada's contributions peaked at 46 million Canadian dollars during the wars
in the Balkans, the 2009 contribution to date is 10 percent over the 1992
milestone.
    "Canada continues to be concerned by the plight of refugees worldwide,
and we will continue to respond to the increasing need for assistance," said
the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation. "Canada
is a strong supporter of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees
(UNHCR), as they continue to meet the needs of a growing humanitarian crisis
whereby victims of conflict are displaced from their homes and communities."
    "Forty years since the signing of the 1951 Convention relating to the
status of refugees and its 1967 protocol, Canada has consistently engaged on
all fronts as a strong partner to UNHCR. We rely on Canada's support; the lead
role it plays in addressing issues concerning displaced population groups and
protracted refugee situations worldwide, finding permanent solutions for them
as well as supporting UNHCR's reform and performance management initiatives,"
stated Abraham.
    As with past donations received from Canada and other donor countries,
the 2009 funding is tied to specific goals; towards the protection and
safeguarding of refugee rights and continuing the search for solutions for
millions of people including refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced
persons and stateless people. In all of its activities, UNHCR pays particular
attention to the needs of children and seeks to promote the protection of
women and girls, particularly from sexual abuse and exploitation. UNHCR also
works towards promoting equal gender rights while also addressing needs of the
elderly and the mentally and physically challenged.
    More information on UNHCR and refugees, as well as on Canada's
contributions to UNHCR's operations can be found on our website www.unhcr.org

    ABOUT UNHCR:

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which won the
Nobel Peace Prize on two occasions, was established by the UN General Assembly
in 1950. Since then, it has helped more than 50 million people to find
protection and solutions to their plight.
    The UN Refugee Agency's programmes are financed by voluntary
contributions, mainly from governments, but also from other donor groups,
including private citizens and organizations within the framework of its
Private Sector Fund Raising activities. It receives a limited contribution
from the United Nations regular budget to cover some of its administrative
costs.




For further information:

For further information: Gisèle Nyembwe, (613) 232-0909, ext 225,
nyembwe@unhcr.org

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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

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