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I Welcome Refugees

    September 14, 2017
    Toronto Councillor Joe Mihevc with the Syrian Family he sponsored

    It can feel overwhelming trying to work out how to help in something as massive as the global refugee crisis.

    Well, never forget that as well as being a global refugee crisis, it’s also a local one, as so many communities now have refugees living within them.

    So, remember – you are not alone and you don’t have to act on your own - there’s an incredible network of people across villages, towns, countries, globally, who are already really involved, it’s just a question of finding other like-minded people.

    And that’s really easy to do - look for groups in your local community who are supporting refugees. 

    So today, look into what support groups and activities there are in your community or country. And if you don’t find what you need, contact us to brainstorm for ideas about how you can get involved in your community. 

    You can make a massive difference. Thanks again for your support.

     

    September 14, 2017

    Yesterday we talked about finding or creating a safe space online or in your local community where you can meet likeminded people who also care about refugees.

    Well, today we’re asking you to look into actual, real-life safe spaces you might find in your area. You might be able to find landlords locally that are willing to give a room or a whole property to refugees, or perhaps you have a space you can offer in your own home?

    You could offer a place for refugees to stay in the short-term, or find people that are willing to do so.

    Contact refugee service organizations in your community to find out how you can help them meet the needs of refugees in your community

    September 09, 2017

    It’s been a week since we started the 30 days, and I hope you’re seeing the difference already. Hopefully, you understand the issues a bit more and now understand more the change that one person, like you, can make.

    Sometimes change takes time, and sometimes it feels like it happens before your eyes.

    Watch this video and see what happened when people met refugees face-to-face for the first time.

    You can share it with anyone you think might be interested too.

    September 08, 2017

    We told you yesterday about the story of Baraa , who we were able to help thanks to the support of people like you. We can’t thank you enough for all that you’re doing to help refugees.

    Today, we’re asking you to speak out about the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in detention centres in Canada.

    Did you know that over the last 10 years over 800 children have been held in immigration detention in Canada? Children are placed in detention with or without their families for several weeks, and sometimes for up to a year. In February 2016 a 16 year old Syrian refugee boy was help in solitary confinement in immigration detention for 3 weeks.

    September 06, 2017

    You care about refugees – that’s clear from the fact that you’re reading this now.

    And because of that, we thought you might be interested in signing up for a free online course about the rights of refugees.

    This course will help you to understand, defend and promote the rights of refugees. You will also develop new skills and knowledge from experts and learn how to hold governments to account.

    You can do the course at your own pace, and you can also connect with other participants from across the world.  

    We really hope you enjoy it.

    And knowledge is power, so by doing this and sharing the course with others who might be interested, you will be helping to change people’s attitudes to refugees.

    Take the free online refugee rights course

    September 05, 2017
    Graphic of the refugee crisis by numbers

    To really make a difference to refugees, you need to understand the scale of the problem.

    But behind each and every number, behind every image of crowds of people waiting in refugee camps – behind each of these is a person, like Ahmed.

    He’d spent his life working in his 300-person capacity restaurant, which welcomed scores of tourist buses every day. He was well known where he lived, and much loved by tourists and locals alike.

    But the war in Syria changed everything. Both his home and his restaurant were destroyed by bombs so he fled to another city with his family, including his two young children, Aya and Read. But even there they weren’t safe, so Ahmed made the difficult decision to leave his beloved country to seek safety in Jordan. .

    September 04, 2017

    We’re spending a month highlighting all the amazing ways you can help make a difference to refugees around the world.

    If you’ve ever felt helpless or hopeless hearing about the millions of people forced to flee their homes, we want to change all that so that you can do something you believe in.

    You’ve already taken the first step, probably without even realising it. As Mohamed,  a refugee from Somalia, explains:

    “There is a proverb in my culture which says an open heart is entered but not an open door. So if you see an open door you will not enter it, but you will enter it if the person who is there has an open heart. So I think having a great heart, it's the first thing.”

    August 30, 2017
    The Ali family in Toronto

    By Charmain Mohamed

    Two years ago an image of a little boy in a red T-shirt, face down on a Mediterranean beach, brought home the full horror of the humanitarian crisis unfolding on Europe’s shores. Alan Kurdi, from the Syrian town of Kobani, was just three years old when he, together with his mother and his older brother, drowned on the dangerous crossing from Turkey to Greece. While the crisis was not news, it briefly seemed that the international outcry might shock world leaders into action.

    August 29, 2017

    Learn how to take action for refugees as part of Amnesty International's I Welcome campaign. 

    August 28, 2017
    Ranea and Danea from Iraq have been stranded in Lesvos for 16 months

    The thing refugees need above all is a lasting, long-term solution. Without this, they have no real hope of rebuilding their lives.

    Imagine: you’re forced to flee your home and escape to another country. There, you are recognized as a refugee by either the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, or the local authorities. But you still face threats, abuses like sexual violence, or problems getting life-saving medical treatment.

    UNHCR will decide if you urgently need protection in another country. This is called resettlement. Canada, for example, opened its doors to 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and February 2016. Every single one reached their new home country in the only obvious way: by plane.

    But unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of refugees who qualify for resettlement have actually received that all-important call saying they can move abroad.

    August 28, 2017

    We’ve given you a global overview on refugees so far, but now it’s time to focus in on the situation local to you.

    Canada has been viewed as a global leader with respect to refugee protection. It has signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and other human rights instruments which protect refugees. Canada was the first country to set out guidelines for considering the refugee claims of women, and has taken an active role globally in the resettlement of refugees through both government and private sponsorship programs. In recent years however, Canada like many other countries, is creating more barriers for people seeking safety and security.

    Your voice is important in showing there is public support for welcoming refugees and demanding Canada does more.

    Here Gloria Nafziger explains how refugee issues became an actual electoral issue in Canada due to the demands of people who wanted more refugees resettled.

    August 28, 2017
    Protesters walking with Amnesty signs

    So, when we’re talking about refugees around the world, you might be wondering: where does Amnesty fit in?

    Amnesty International addresses the biggest challenges in the world today - inequality on the rise, ongoing crises and conflicts, those in power clamping down on people’s freedoms and more people than ever before fleeing their homes and seeking safety elsewhere.

    But to do that, we need your help to make sure we are the first on the scene in any emerging crisis, gathering crucial evidence so we can hold governments to account. And to make sure we can provide guidance and support to refugees at all stages of their journey; to help them find a safe welcome, so they can start to rebuild their lives.

    But to really show you where we’re making a difference, you need to hear about how we helped Baraa and his family.

    August 28, 2017
    Nearly three-quarters of young people globally would welcome refugees into their countries   A new survey released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on young peoples’ attitudes towards refugees exposes just how out of touch governments are with their citizens, Amnesty International said today.   According to the Global Shapers' Annual Survey, the vast majority (72.6%) of people aged 18-35 would welcome refugees into their countries. More than a quarter (27.3%) say they would even take refugees into their own homes.   “People fleeing violence and persecution around the world have repeatedly had doors slammed in their faces by wealthy governments who claim they cannot help them. WEF’s research shows that young people aren’t buying it, and are dismayed by the heartless attitudes of their leaders,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.  
    August 25, 2017

    Today, it’s all about the things you can’t always see.

    Look at the pictures below and see if you can tell – which person is a refugee? Which person gave refugees from Syria a place to stay? Which person is a professor of maths and business-owner? Which person is nurturing future soccer star?

    August 24, 2017
    The Ali family in Toronto

    We’re spending the month of September highlighting all the amazing ways you can make a difference to refugees at home in Canada, and around the world. We’ll be posting a new blog every day in September; you can follow along on our blog and social media channels, and remember to share what actions you are taking by using the hashtags #IWelcome and #AmnestyCanada .

    September 4: What is a refugee? Get informed – knowledge is power.

    September 5: Refugees in numbers

    September 6: Do the MOOC on refugees

    September 7: Stories behind the numbers

    September 8: Help us keep fighting for refugee rights

    September 9: Your support makes a difference

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