World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day Quick Facts - CA

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2024 DateJune 20, 2024
2025 DateJune 20, 2025

World Refugee Day

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World Refugee Day serves as a stark reminder of the immense challenges faced by millions of forcibly displaced people around the globe. This global observance highlights the courage, sacrifice, and resilience that define the spirit of refugees and immigrants. Upholding the spirit of solidarity and responsibility-sharing, it is an opportunity for the international community to recommit to supporting and protecting the rights of those forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution, or other crises.

Established by the United Nations in 2000, the day acknowledges the bravery and strength of refugees and affords Canadians an opportunity to be involved in global efforts to alleviate their sufferings. In a time when Canada has opened its doors to thousands of refugees to build their lives anew on its soil, World Refugee Day empowers Canadians to foster an atmosphere of understanding, empathy, and inclusiveness. The observance recognizes the role Canada has played in providing refuge to thousands of people staunchly backed by a strong tradition of humanitarianism and a robust resettlement program.

Every year, communities across Canada passionately mark World Refugee Day through various events and activities with an aim to enhance public understanding and support for refugees. Educational programs, film screenings, and concerts celebrate the rich cultural diversity brought by refugees whilst generating public awareness about the ongoing global refugee crisis. As Canadians stand united in commemorating this essential observance, they bolster the principles of human rights, social justice, and humanitarian assistance in tackling the pressing challenges faced by refugees worldwide. World Refugee Day is observed on June 20th annually.

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World Refugee Day facts

  • The theme for World Refugee Day in 2023 was hope away from home.
  • 86% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries.
  • In the 2021-2022 budget, the government allocated around CAD 1.2 billion towards immigration and resettlement initiatives, including refugee programs.
  • Canada has consistently been taking in higher numbers of refugees in recent years. In 2020, Canada welcomed 22,200 refugees, making the country the top resettler of refugees globally.

Top things to do in Canada for World Refugee Day

  • Share the hashtags #WorldRefugeeDay and #RefugeeStrong on social media to spread awareness.
  • Donate or volunteer for the UN Refugee Agency. All proceeds and time go toward helping resettle current and future refugees so that they have safe and healthy lives.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about refugees in Canada. Here are our suggestions:
    1. The Journey From Syria (2016). This documentary web series by The New York Times follows a Syrian refugee named Aboud Shalhoub as he makes his way to Canada with his family.
    2. After the Last River (2015). This documentary explores the Attawapiskat First Nation community in Canada, drawing parallels to refugee experiences as they struggle with a housing crisis and environmental contamination.
    3. 19 Days (2016). This short documentary takes viewers inside Canada's resettlement program by observing the experiences of several refugee families during their first 19 days in the country.
  • Read a book to learn more about the history of immigration and refugees in Canada. Here are our recommendations:
    1. Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees, 1975-1980 by Michael J. Molloy, Peter Duschinsky, Kurt F. Jensen, and Robert J. Shalka
    2. The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy by Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock
    3. Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2006 by Valerie Knowles

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