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Refugees Welcome Here

    October 24, 2017

    NEW YORK ­– As his original 120-day ban on refugees expires tomorrow, President Trump Administration is expected to announce additional restrictions on refugees – policies that will leave thousands of people in danger.

    “This announcement puts thousands of families and individuals at serious risk of injury or death,” said Naureen Shah, senior director of campaigns at Amnesty International USA. “The people who will be hurt by this were on the brink of finding safety, and now they’re instead thrown into harm’s way again. Ripping families apart and subjecting refugees to yet more scrutiny does not keep anyone safer, and in fact exposes more people to danger. The Trump administration’s cruel policies are fueling an already vicious humanitarian crisis.”

    After imposing the refugee ban that effectively halved the Obama administration’s projected 2017 numbers from 110,000 to 55,000, President Trump has capped refugee admissions for next year at 45,000 – compared to the historic average of 85,000 a year. In raw numbers, the U.S. has will have taken in 97,000 fewer refugees since 2016.

    October 16, 2017
    Refugee Camp in Uganda

    Moses Moini had such hope for his home and family in South Sudan.  In 2011 South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan, following years of conflict.  Resources began to pour into the country.  Moses was so pleased that he could help his mother build the best home she had ever had in their village in Kajo Kaji Country in Central Equatoria State. He believed she could live the rest of her life in comfort aided by the money he sent from Canada.  She would never need to flee again.  She was safe.

    Sadly the hope was short lived, by 2013 fighting had broken out between members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to the then Vice-President Riek Machar.  The conflict took on an increasingly ethnic dimension, with the leaders of the two main opposing factions belonging to the two largest ethnic groups - President Kiir, a Dinka, and former Vice-President Machar, a Nuer.  They each drew much of their support from members of their own ethnic groups.  A peace deal, signed in August 2015 by President Kiir and Machar, which reinstated Machar as Vice-President, was never fully implemented and eventually collapsed in July 2016.

    August 16, 2017
    © REUTERS/Adriane Ohanesian/Alamy

    Uganda hosts over 900,000 refugees from South Sudan who are fleeing serious human rights abuses including targeted killings, torture, and sexual violence, including rape.

    Uganda has remained welcoming and generous to refugees at a time when many countries are closing their borders. But Uganda is under incredible strain as funds dry up and thousands continue to cross from South Sudan every day. The international community is failing to support Uganda. Basic needs, including access to food, water, sanitation, health care and shelter are not being met.

     

    SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH REFUGEES Send a solidarity message to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda:

    Create your message on a placard or banner. For example, “I wish you a future where your hopes and dreams are fulfilled.” Translations in some of the languages spoken by South Sudanese refugees in Uganda: 

    July 05, 2017

    The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Amnesty International (AI) and the Canadian Council of Churches announced today that they are launching a legal challenge of the designation of the United States as a safe third country for refugees.

    “The US was never safe for all refugees, and is now even less safe,” said Loly Rico, President of the Canadian Council for Refugees. “It is wrong, morally and legally, to send claimants back to the US, knowing as we do that they may face serious violations of their basic rights.”

    The three organizations are joining an individual litigant who is asking the Federal Court to strike down the Safe Third Country Agreement and allow her to make a refugee claim in Canada. E. is a Salvadoran woman who fled her country with her daughters after a decade of being targeted by a gang, including most recently death threats. She has strong reasons for believing that she might not be protected if forced to make her refugee claim in the US, rather than Canada.

    April 13, 2017

    By: Marium Yousuf

    On a beautiful, crisp sunny day last weekend, Amnesty International, Sojurn House, Culture Link and the Centre for Victims of Torture held an event in Toronto to mark Canada’s Refugee Rights Day (April 4). The tone was deliberately celebratory, with performances from the Nai Syrian Kids Choir, poet Ama Luna and poet/singer, song-writer Ruth Mathiang that left the audience captivated all afternoon.

    The Nai Syrian Kids Choir immediately captured everyone’s attention as they streamed through the room in their yellow uniforms. Ranging between the ages from 6-12, it was hard to imagine that these smiling young faces had experienced war and loss, having recently resettled in Canada as Syrian refugees. The Choir is an initiative of Culture Link and serves as a space for children to deal with their loss, grief and hope through music, while their parents practice conversational English with ESL teachers. Their performances did not disappoint: singing songs in Arabic, French and English, while their beaming parents cheered them on.

    April 12, 2017
    ​​​​​​​Rawya Rageh,Crisis Response Senior Adviser with Amnesty International

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    It is so important to understand the impact of President Trump’s travel ban.

    When the first Executive Order from the US President came into force in January, banning entry to the United States of nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, a research team led by Amnesty's Crisis Response Senior Advisor Rawya Rageh (pictured above) was immediately sent to locations along the Canada-US border to investigate the impact of such a clearly discriminatory order.

    The story of Fatima* is not uncommon, and illustrates why Amnesty International must be there to defend the rights of individuals affected by the ban, and needs your help to campaign against the travel ban.  

    April 03, 2017
    A refugee in Montreal looks out a window over the city

    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.

    March 17, 2017

    The EU-Turkey deal which has resulted in the suffering of thousands of refugees and migrants is a stain on the collective conscience of Europe, said Amnesty International on the first anniversary of the agreement.

    The deal aimed at returning asylum-seekers back to Turkey on the premise that Turkey is safe for them, has failed on its own terms but left thousands exposed to squalid and unsafe conditions on Greek islands

    “Today marks a dark day in the history of refugee protection: one in which Europe’s leaders attempted to buy themselves out of their international obligations, heedless of the cost in human misery,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe.

    “A year ago, the Greek islands were transformed into de facto holding pens, as Europe’s shores went from being sites of sanctuary into places of peril. One year on, thousands remain stranded in a dangerous, desperate and seemingly endless limbo.”

    March 07, 2017

    Responding to the Hungarian Parliament’s adoption of a set of amendments allowing for the automatic detention of all asylum seekers while their applications are processed, Gauri Van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe, said:

    “Plans to automatically detain some of the world’s most vulnerable people in shipping containers behind razor wire fences, sometimes for months on end, are beyond the pale. This new border detention package is just the latest in Hungary’s aggressive crackdown on refugees and migrants.”

    “These measures will even be applied to children, a flagrant violation of international and European law. It will also enable refugees to be forcibly returned to Serbia without due process. We are urging the EU to step up and show Hungary that such illegal and deeply inhumane measures have consequences. Dumping all refugees and migrants into containers isn't a refugee policy - it’s avoiding one.”

    Background

    March 06, 2017

    In response to President Trump’s new Executive Order to reinstate the suspension of the USA’s refugee resettlement programme and establish a temporary travel ban on people from six majority-Muslim countries, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

    “President Trump’s determined efforts to slam the door on those fleeing the very terror he claims to be fighting will be remembered among the darkest chapters of US history. The idea that these measures are in the interest of national security does not stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

    “This new Executive Order simply reinstates many of the most repellent elements of its predecessor. It tramples on the values the USA has long claimed to stand for and threatens to dash the hopes of thousands of refugees who were due to be resettled in the USA.

    February 08, 2017

    After President Vladimir Putin signed a legal reform that decriminalizes some forms of domestic violence, Anna Kirey, Deputy Director for Campaigns for Russia and Eurasia at Amnesty International, said:

    “While the Russian government claims this reform will ‘protect family values’, in reality it rides roughshod over women’s rights. It is a sickening attempt to further trivialize domestic violence, an issue the Russian government has long attempted to downplay. Far too often, victims find they cannot rely on the law for protection and their abusers are let off the hook, with only a tiny fraction imprisoned for their actions.

    “In the more than a decade since Amnesty International’s last report on rampant domestic violence in Russia, the authorities have failed to implement a single measure to enhance protection and services for the victims.

    February 06, 2017

    “From polls to protests, the message to Congress is clear: Step in and stop this Muslim ban now,” Amnesty International says

    (NEW YORK, NY) – As Americans learn more about President Trump’s Muslim ban, they increasingly reject it, multiple polls show. Amnesty International USA said today that Congress should listen to growing public opposition to the Muslim ban and pass legislation to block it.

    February 02, 2017

    Closing the EU’s southern sea borders would put thousands of refugees and migrants setting sail from Libya at risk of detention and appalling human rights abuses, Amnesty International warned as European leaders meet in Malta tomorrow to secure an EU-Libya migration plan.  The plan was first proposed late last month by the European Commission to ‘manage migration’ on the Central Mediterranean route.

    The EU naval operations Sophia and Triton would in practice delegate search and rescue of refugees and migrants by sharing information about the location of the migrant and refugee boats to the Libyan Coast Guard, facilitating their interception and return to Libya.

    January 30, 2017

    In an Open Letter to Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Amnesty International’s Canadian and US Sections, representing close to 2 million people in the two countries, have today called on the Canadian government immediately and urgently to rescind designation of the United States as a “safe third country” for the purposes of refugee determination.

    The designation, pursuant to an agreement reached between the two countries in 2002, took effect in December 2004.  Its effect is to deny access to the Canadian refugee determination system for most refugee claimants who pass through the United States before continuing to Canada.  They are instead required to make their claims for protection in the United States.  The designation of the United States as a “safe third country” had been overturned by a Federal Court judge in 2007, but that was reversed on procedural grounds by the Federal Court of Appeal in 2008.

    October 03, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT 04 October 2016

    Wealthy countries have shown a complete absence of leadership and responsibility, leaving just 10 countries, which account for less than 2.5% of world GDP, to take in 56% of the world’s refugees, said Amnesty International in a comprehensive assessment of the global refugee crisis published today.

    The report ‘Tackling the global refugee crisis: From shirking to sharing responsibility’, documents the precarious situation faced by many of the world’s 21 million refugees. While many in Greece, Iraq, on the island of Nauru, or at the border of Syria and Jordan are in dire need of a home, others in Kenya and Pakistan are facing growing harassment from governments.

    The report sets out a fair and practical solution to the crisis based on a system that uses relevant, objective criteria to show the fair share every state in the world should take in in order to find a home for 10% of the world’s refugees every year.

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