Learn how to take action for refugees as part of Amnesty International's I Welcome campaign.
Learn how to take action for refugees as part of Amnesty International's I Welcome campaign.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
Cynical deals with Libya consign thousands to risk of drowning, rape and torture
2017 set to become the deadliest year for the deadliest migration route in the world as death-rate increases threefold since 2015
The soaring death toll in the central Mediterranean and the horrific abuses faced by thousands of refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centres are clearly linked to failing EU policies, said Amnesty International in a report published today.
A perfect storm: The failure of European policies in the Central Mediterranean finds that by ceding the lion’s share of responsibility for search and rescue to NGOs and by increasing cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, European governments are failing to prevent drownings and turning a blind eye to abuse, including torture and rape.
EU Ministers meeting in Tallinn today are set to discuss new proposals that will make a dire situation worse.
AI USA provides the following information for those impacted by the Executive Order barring entry into the United States for people from six Muslim majority countries; Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Canadian citizens or dual nationals of these countries should not be affected by this ban, but permanent residents of Canada may encounter difficulties obtaining a visa to travel to the United States. Those facing difficulty at the US border will find the following information helpful.
Naureen Shah, AIUSA Senior Director of Campaigns
The Muslim and refugee ban will partially go back into effect, following the June 26, 2017 Supreme Court decision. The court partially lifted an injunction on the ban that’s been in place since days after President Trump issued it in late January.
There are 180 million nationals from the six banned countries; several tens of millions of them will be banned for 90 days, and so too will many refugees — for at least 120 days, and maybe longer.
Following the Supreme Court’s announcement that it will hear arguments on President Trump’s discriminatory Muslim ban and allow the order to take effect in the meantime, Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA executive director, released the following statement:
“This bigoted ban cannot be allowed to take effect again, and Congress needs to step in immediately to nullify it once and for all. It’s always been crystal clear that this policy was based on discrimination. Reinstating any part of this ban could create chaos in the nation’s airports and tear families apart.
"Rather than keeping anyone safe, this ban demonizes millions of innocent people and creates anxiety and instability for people who want to visit a relative, work, study, return to the country they call home, or just travel without fear.”
Outside the unused airport in the Elliniko area of Athens, a group of Afghan women take off their sandals before sitting down on a blue blanket. Behind them is the old terminal building, which has been their temporary “home” for months, for many more than a year.
There’s rubbish everywhere, shattered windows have turned into gaping holes and some places reek of urine.
“I have been in this camp for 1 year and two months without a destiny”, a woman with a burgundy headscarf said, tears trickling down her face.
The government is now starting the process of evacuating the camp. But for these women, their destiny is still unknown. No one we talk to knows exactly what will happen to them.
“The uncertainty is killing us”, Afghan woman.
Amnesty has visited the Elliniko camps several times since they opened around a year and a half ago. Every time the stories have been the same and this visit is no different: appalling living conditions, lack of security, severe anxiety caused by former traumas and not knowing what the future will bring.
“We’ve been through hell here,” one woman said.
By Gloria Nafziger: Refugee Coordinator Amnesty International
“It was like Donald Trump had awakened a dormant volcano that was ready to erupt at any time; and I didn’t want to be a part of it”
April 4 is Refugee Rights Day in Canada. This is the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1985 Singh decision, which recognized that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects refugees' fundamental rights. The Court decided that refugee claimants are included in the Charter sentence: ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.’
This means that, in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice and international law, refugees who enter Canada from the United States and make a refugee claim are entitled to an oral hearing.
After a year trapped in Greece, this week Alan, Gyan and the rest of the family have finally travelled to Germany. We know they arrived safely and that they are provisionally staying in a camp. We will keep you updated.
Alan and Gyan are Kurdish refugees from Syria. They both suffer from muscular dystrophy and fled their home in Syria in wheelchairs; escaping bombs and the Islamic State. They arrived in Greece in March 2016 with their mother, Amsha and two siblings, Ivan and Shilan. Their father and another sister are already in Germany.
Their arduous journey in search of safety had taken them and their family across four borders. They were shot at on three occasions when they were trying to cross into Turkey and were strapped to the side of a horse in order to cross the mountainous border between Iraq and Turkey.