June 20th is World Refugee Day and this year celebrations are going to be a bit different.
Although there are typically gatherings – large and small – which take place across Canada and around the world to celebrate the important contributions that refugees make to our communities, the spread of COVID-19 is challenging us to think of new and different ways to mark this special occasion. The pandemic may keep us physically apart, but we will be sure to honour the contributions of refugee this year, and every year!
Join a Virtual Event
Join Amnesty International for a virtual World Refugee Day Celebration with Nazik Kabalo, a passionate Sudanese human rights defender and founder of the Sudanese Women Human Rights Project.
When: Saturday, June 20th at 7:00 pm EST
In the place of in-person gatherings, many organizations are hosting virtual events for World Refugee Day. Join one that works for you:
- June 18th at 1:00 pm EST: Migration in the Shadow of a Pandemic
- June 20th at 2:00 pm EST: World Refugee Day with the Canadian Council for Refugees
Call on Canada to Welcome Refugees
On March 21st, the federal government decided to shut the door to people seeking refugee protection who are entering from the US, for 30 days. The government said the decision was based on the COVID-19 crisis and that it needed to take this step to limit cross-border travel to only essential travel.
Canada’s decision to shut the border to refugee claimants puts those individuals in danger, is out of step with public health measures designed to curb the spread of COVID-19, and runs counter to our international legal obligations.
That’s why we are urging the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to champion refugee rights and reverse this ban. You can call the Minister using our click-to-call action, by letting him know that you want Canada to end this ban.
You can also show your public support for refugees at this critical time. Display your support on social media and in your street by joining our photo petition.
1. Create a sign showing your support for refugees and celebrating their contributions to your community. Consider messages like my community includes refugees; protecting public health means protecting refugees; or we’re all safe when refugees are safe
2. Display your sign in the window or door of your home to let your neighbours know that you support refugee rights.
3. Take a photo of your sign and tweet your message of support, tagging @AmnestyNow to let us know you participated and to be added to our photo petition. Don’t use social media? Send your photo to email@example.com to add it to our photo petition.
— AmnestyCanada (@AmnestyNow) April 20, 2020
Support Rohingya Refugees
Approximately 500,000 children do not have access to education with the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. In June 2019, Amnesty International organized the “When I Grow Up” art camp with 160 Rohingya children from the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, themed around their aspirations for the future and the careers they wanted to pursue.
Over the course of Refugee Week (starting June 15, 2020) and leading up to World Refugee Day on June 20, you can check out the artwork made by the children on Amnesty International Canada’s Instagram page.
Reflecting on this project, youth volunteers and members of AIC(ES)’s National Youth Action and Advisory Committee have shared how they connect to the individual pieces of art created by some of the children during the camp. Find their thoughts here.
As many as 400 Rohingya refugees are believed to be stranded at sea, with dozens of deaths having already been recorded. South and southeast Asian governments are using COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions to block people fleeing violence in their home state from landing safely and seeking asylum.
The Indonesian government, as co-chair of the 2016 Bali Process, has a responsibility to manage a regional response to this crisis and to co-ordinate search and rescue operations to locate and assist boats in distress, in line with regional declarations and international law.
Help Us Bust Myths About Refugees
Now more than ever, we need to counteract harmful myths about refugees and celebrate the ways that refugees contribute to our communities.
Help us by sharing our myth-busting graphic and challenging myths about refugees when you hear them.
You can also help bust myths by taking part in our online course about the rights of refugees and using what you learn to take action.