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Canada celebrates World Refugee Day

the CanadaVisa Team - 22 June, 2009

On Saturday, Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in celebrating World Refugee Day. They unveiled a new multi-media presentation, "Voices of Refugees," a series of videos of refugees telling their stories.

"'Voices of Refugees' enables refugees to share their stories with all Canadians, to show that there are real people in real danger," said Minister Kenney. "Refugees are sometimes forgotten as a faceless group stranded in a far way land. We need to heed these voices and listen to their stories."

Every year, Canada's refugee program provides protection to over 30,000 people from various regions around the world. One in 10 global refugees are given a new home in Canada.

Canada's refugee protection system benefits from partnerships between the Canadian Government and non-governmental organizations and private citizens through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. Introduced thirty years ago, this private sponsorship program has enabled Canadians to resettle 200,000 refugees.

Since World War II, Canada has provided refuge to more than 1 million refugees.

"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 UNHCR representative Mr. Abraham Abraham.

Over the past year, Canada has selected 1,000 Bhutanese refugees who have been living in refugee camps in Nepal, expecting to resettle 5,000 in all. The Government of Canada also announced that the number of privately-sponsored Iraqi refugees will be increased for each of the next three years.

Minister Kenney acknowledged the international, national, provincial, and municipal organizations that help with refugee resettlement.

"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."