Canadians Prepare to Mark World Refugee Day

OTTAWA, June17,  2016  /CNW/ - On 20 June, World Refugee Day, Canadians will join people around the world to highlight the courage and perseverance shown by refugees in overcoming enormous odds to rebuild their lives.

This year, World Refugee Day has a special meaning, recognizing the recent outpouring of concern for refugees demonstrated by Canadians in communities across Canada over the past year. This comes at a time when there are record levels of forced human displacement globally. The day is an opportunity to acknowledge the massive outburst of volunteerism, generosity and willingness of Canadians and their governments at different levels to welcome refugees. 

"World Refugee Day is an important opportunity for us to pause and reflect on what we can do as individuals to help refugees," said Michael Casasola, Officer in Charge, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). "The surge of support we have received from Canadians this year is very encouraging for UNHCR as we work to protect and find solutions for refugees the world over."

Globally, World Refugee Day will also be marked by a strong call to action in support of UNHCR's #WithRefugees campaign, which seeks to ensure more compassion and solidarity for refugees.

Events are planned across the country to mark World Refugee Day 2016.
See Annex 1 for details of UNHCR organized events.

A listing of all World Refugee Day events planned across Canada can also be found on


20 June is World Refugee Day and this year UNHCR is marking the occasion by launching a new global campaign #WithRefugees which focuses on the fact that refugees are ordinary people whose hopes and dreams were put on hold by being forced to flee. The #WithRefugees Campaign Call to Action asks the public to show their solidarity by signing the #WithRefugees Campaign petition that can be found at or

Annex 1
List of UNHCR events

Ottawa, ON

Event: REF Talks (by invitation only). The World Refugee Day REF Talks will feature three Members of Parliament who were former refugees: Arif Virani, Gary Anandasangaree and Ahmed Hussen.

Ref Talks developed by UNHCR in partnership with Ryerson University, York University and the City of Toronto is an inspiring speaker series featuring prominent refugees or those who have made a prominent contribution to Canada. 

Venue: Parliament Hill, Ottawa
Date: 20 June 2016, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
Organizing committee: UNHCR
Contact person: Rana Khan (UNHCR)
Tel: (416) 954-1188

Event: World Refugee Day public event and kick start of the 2016 Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW), Award ceremony for the UNHCR-CCUNESCO-COSTI "Refugees and Human Rights" Poetry contest, special performance by Jazz pianist and vocalist Yaa-Hemaa Obiri Yeboah, public conversation with refugees and service providers.  Mayor Jim Watson will renew the World Refugee Day and Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW) proclamations.
Venue: Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave W
Date: June 20, 2016 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
Organizing Committee: UNHCR, OLIP, the City of Ottawa, the Ottawa Police, Local Agencies Serving Immigrants (LASI), Refugee613, WUSC and the Refugee Network of Ottawa (ReNoO)
Contact person: Erla Cabrera (UNHCR)
Tel: (613) 232-0909

Toronto, ON

Event: Public event with performances, NGO display tents, Human Library, award ceremony for the UNHCR-CCUNESCO-COSTI Refugee & Human Rights Child & Youth National Poetry Contest winners. Special appearance by Tom Cochrane.  On 20 June, the UNHCR flag will be raised at City Hall and at night, the CN Tower and Niagara Falls will be lit blue.  
Venue: Nathan Phillips Square
Date: 20 June 2016, 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Organizing committee: UNHCR, Humanitarian Coalition, Canadian Red Cross, Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, COSTI Immigrant Services, Sojourn House, Amnesty International, CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan International Canada, Save the Children, Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Islamic Relief Canada, World Vision Canada, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, Handicap International, Matthew House, WUSC and UN World Food Program
Contact person: Rana Khan / Samer Nakib (UNHCR)
Tel: (416) 954-1188

Montreal, QC

Event: A solidarity walk down rue Ste-Catherine to celebrate World Refugee Day, refugee testimonials, poems recital by prize-winning High School Students and entertainment
Venue: The walk begins at the YMCA, Tupper Street
Date: 18 June 2016, 11:30 am to 4:00 pm
Organizing Committee:  UNHCR, Action Réfugiés Montréal, Montreal City Mission
Contact person: Aline Fautsch (UNHCR)
Tel: (514) 496-1637

Event: 5@7 Cocktail - A cocktail event hosted by the Mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre, focusing on raising awareness with donors, politicians and business people (by invitation only). The Nansen Medal given to the People of Canada will be showcased.
City Hall will also be lit in blue all evening, in honor of World Refugee Day.
Venue: Montreal City Hall
Date: 20 June 2016, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Organizing Committee:  UNHCR, Action Réfugiés Montréal, Montreal City Mission
Contact person: Aline Fautsch (UNHCR)
Tel: (514) 496-1637

For all other planned events across Canada, visit


SOURCE United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

For further information: Gisèle Nyembwe, 613-986-4300, email:


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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

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