"Protecting Refugees: Rebuilding lives in Safety and Dignity"



    OTTAWA, June 19 /CNW Telbec/ - UNHCR, the Government of Canada and local
aid organizations will come together to commemorate World Refugee Day on 20
June 2008.
    World Refugee Day is an occasion to salute the incredible strength,
courage and determination that refugees display throughout their long and
daunting journey from oppression and persecution to asylum and protection and
eventually to a place they can call home.
    "Protecting Refugees: Rebuilding Lives in Safety and Dignity" is the
selected theme for World Refugee Day 2008 in Canada.
    World Refugee Day this year will not only pay tribute to all those who
have been forcibly uprooted but will also recognize the enormous efforts made
by all those who have helped refugees to rebuild their lives in safety and
dignity.
    "Millions of refugees are fleeing their homes due to conflicts, wars and
persecution for reasons of race, religion, political opinion or belonging to a
social group to seek protection and assistance elsewhere until they are able
to return to their homes in safety and dignity," said Mr. Abraham ABRAHAM,
UNHCR Representative in Canada.
    "Canada should be proud of its longstanding hospitable tradition of
receiving and providing sanctuary to hundreds and thousands of refugees from
different parts of the world who have found protection in this beautiful and
caring country. Canada has been good to refugees," he added.
    "This year the Government of Canada made major commitments for the
protection of Karen and Bhutanese refugees in Asia, as well as Iraqi refugees
in the Middle East. We have also offered protection to refugees from Africa
and Latin America," said Minister Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration. "I think all Canadians can be proud of how we have welcomed
refugees into our communities-from coast to coast to coast. We're a blessed
nation, and we are a strong defender of human rights."
    As part of this year's World Refugee Day activities, UNHCR and aid
organizations have organized events to mark the day. See Annex 1 for details
on planned events.

    ABOUT UNHCR:

    UNHCR works in 120 countries to provide protection and assistance to an
estimated 31.7 million refugees, and other displaced and needy persons. The UN
Refugee Agency, which has won two Nobel Peace Prizes, was established by the
UN General Assembly in 1950 and has helped more than 50 million people over
the past five decades.
    www.unhcr.ca

    
                                   Annex 1
                             List of UNHCR events
    

    Vancouver, BC

    Event: "A day in the life of a refugee claimant", an experiential event
    to illustrate the challenges for newly arrived claimants, music,
    displays of art, World Refugee Day Proclamation
    Date and Venue: 20 June 2008 - 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. - Vancouver Public
    Library Central Branch (300 West Georgia Street)
    Organizing committee: UNHCR, The Canadian Red Cross, Settlement
    Orientation Services and Vancouver Public Library
    Contact person: Lesley Stalker
    Tel: (604) 666-2151

    Ottawa, ON

    Event: World Refugee Day Proclamation, Citizenship Ceremony, Music and
    dance entertainment featuring the Thai Dance Troupe of Ottawa and the
    Remesha Drums, information booths and refugee testimonies
    Date and Venue: 20 June 2008 - 9:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. - Ottawa City Hall
    (110 Laurier Avenue West)
    Organizing Committee: UNHCR and UNESCO
    Contact person: Gisèle Nyembwe
    Tel: 613-232-0909 ext 225

    Toronto, ON

    Event: Free Concert featuring members of the African Guitar Summit, Ruth
    Mathiang and Marcelo Puente, Public Citizenship Ceremony, Prominent
    Refugee Speakers, World Refugee Day Proclamation, NGO displays and other
    activities
    Date and Venue: 20 June 2008 - 12:00 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. - Metro Hall
    Square (55 John Street)
    Organizing Committee: UNHCR, City of Toronto, Amnesty International
    Canada, Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, Canadian Red Cross,
    COSTI Immigrant Services, Christie Refugee Welcome Centre, Salvation Army
    Immigrant and Refugee Services
    Stage Manager: Dave Stelling
    Contact person: Rana Khan
    Tel: (416) 954-1002

    Montreal, QC

    Event: Music and dance entertainment, stand-up comedy by Boucar Diouf,
    "Under the Blue Sky" multi-media exhibit and information booths
    Date and Venue: 20 June 2008 - 3:00 P.M to 8:30 P.M. - St James United
    Church (436 St. Catherine Street West, Place-des-Arts or McGill metro)
    Organizing Committee: UNHCR, La Maisonnée, YMCA, Amnistie internationale,
    Mission Communautaire de Montréal, Ici Radio Refuge, Immigration et
    Communauté culturelles Québec
    Personne ressource : Denise Otis
    Tél : (514) 496-1637

    For all other planned events across Canada, visit www.unhcr.ca/wrd




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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