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Refugees and Migrants

    November 29, 2017
    No Life for a Child

    On 6 November 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale released new directions aimed to keep children out of Canada's immigration detention system.

    “The key objective of the Ministerial Direction is to – as much as humanly possible – keep children out of detention, and keep families together. The Ministerial Direction makes it clear that the Best Interests of the Child must be given primary consideration. This will be achieved by actively and continuously seeking alternatives to detention when unconditional release is inappropriate.”

    The directive is welcome; detention is never in the best interests of children and it is shocking that children are detained for immigration purposes in Canada, even for short periods of time.

    Amnesty International and many other human rights groups in Canada have actively campaigned to keep children out of immigration detention. Several thousand Amnesty International members and supporters signed petitions and called on the Minister to stop detaining children for immigration purposes.

    November 07, 2017

    How can Bangladesh cope with the influx of 600,000 Rohingya?

    Published from the The Washington Post

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/11/06/one-of-the-worlds-poorest-countries-confronts-a-genocide-on-its-doorstep/?utm_term=.c2570b32bff9

    Omar Waraich is deputy South Asia director at Amnesty International

    COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — They may be out of harm’s way, for now, but their ordeal continues. Over the past two months, more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed the border from Myanmar, also known as Burma, to seek shelter in Bangladesh. Not since the Rwandan genocide has a humanitarian crisis unfolded so fast and on such a scale. If one counts the hundreds of thousands who were already based here, driven out by earlier waves of violence in Rakhine state, there are now more than a million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

    September 28, 2017
    Amnesty members marching

    Today, we want to hear from you. We’ve told you people’s stories and shared lots of ideas on how you can make a difference.

    But you’re the expert - you’re the one with the interest in and knowledge of your own community. So tell us, what do you think you, or others, could do to welcome refugees?

    Are there things we haven’t thought of that you think could work? Have you seen an initiative in your local community that you think is interesting or different?

    Please share these ideas and thoughts with us. We definitely don’t have all the answers, and to make this work, we need action and input from people like you.

    Thank you once again for all your support.

    September 27, 2017

    We’re coming to the last few days left in the 30 days, but your efforts don’t have to stop here.

    Keep following us on Facebook, like and share any and all posts you agree with from anyone anywhere that talk about refugees, and above all, keep talking about refugee issues any time you get the chance.

    You’ve come a long way over this past month, perhaps without realising it. You’ve taken in a lot of knowledge and done a lot of research into your own situation.

    Share that expertise and passion with anyone you can at all opportunities. Slowly but surely, as more and more people come to understand and empathise with refugee issues, you will see a real change to your society as a whole.

    Here’s a reminder of what Gloria Nafziger from Amnesty International says about how you can make change happen. Don’t stop now!

    September 26, 2017
    I Welcome Refugees door hanger on a door

    Today it’s time to show the world that you welcome refugees.

    You have read and heard so many stories, and seen the many different, simple ways you can help refugees. But if you feel happy to do so, telling people you welcome refugees could well inspire others to join you.

    You can make it a post on social media, or you can order I Welcome doorhangers and buttons from the online shop.

    Show the world that you are someone who welcomes refugees and see if others follow your lead.

    September 25, 2017

    Families that are fleeing conflict are often separated along the way, and sometimes they have to make difficult decisions about where to stay. This can be a huge source of stress for refugees when they are resettled, as they are constantly thinking about the family members they have left behind. Louai’s story here shows just how important connections to family elsewhere are.

    Some countries allow for families to reunited, which means that refugees can bring over family members if they can help support them.

    Today, find out what your government’s policy is on family reunification. See if there is any way you can tell your politicians to allow more families to be reunited.

    To see why this is important, here is Randa and Sham’s story.

    September 24, 2017

    It’s great to find businesses that support refugees and refugee issues. But that is certainly not how all businesses behave.

    For more than 1,000 refugees and people seeking asylum, the small pacific state of Nauru is an island of despair they’ve been deported to simply for seeking refuge in Australia. But for Spanish multinational Ferrovial, Nauru is a treasure island from which it is making millions of dollars.

    The system that Australia has set up on Nauru for refugees and people seeking asylum, including children, involves deliberate cruelty and amounts to torture. They are subject to humiliation, neglect and abuse, leading to poor physical and mental health.

    Ferrovial is the sole shareholder of Broadspectrum, the Australian company that runs refugee “processing” centres on Nauru as well as Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, and facilitates this abusive system.

    Please take action today and tell Ferrovial to end its operations on Nauru.

    September 23, 2017

    Do you have children, or do you have links to a school in your community? Perhaps you’re a teacher or work in a school in some other capacity?

    If you can get your local school involved and interested in supporting refugees, you might be really surprised by the results.

    For teachers, talking about refugees provides a way for children to experience the wider world around them, by hearing people’s stories and imagining how they would feel in a similar situation.

    For parents, you might be surprised at how engaged the children become with the issues, and just how much they get out of it.

    Watch teachers, pupils and parents at Edmison Heights School in Peterborough, Canada, talking about what how they all loved doing their bit for a local refugee family.

    September 22, 2017

    What companies are big in your country? Who employs a big workforce where you are? You could enlist these companies or individuals in helping refugees too.

    Around the world, lots of businesses have either made it a policy to employ refugees, or have created dedicated training schemes to equip refugees with skills that a local employer will recognise.

    For example, the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Toronto, Canada, has a six-week training course in hospitality specifically for refugees. Watch their General Manager talking about how the scheme is a win-win for them.

    All it takes is for you to ask – so you could approach businesses in your community and ask them to make a specific commitment to train or employ refugees.

    Learn more:

    They fled war in Syria. Today, they manufacture emergency equipment for Canadians (National Observer)

    September 21, 2017
    Ed Sheeran playing in Washington

    On 20 September, across more than 200 cities in 60 countries, musicians, artists, activists and local communities came together in a statement of support for the world’s refugees.

    Give a Home, a collaboration between Amnesty International and Sofar Sounds, saw living rooms across the globe play host to more than 300 special performances from some of the world’s leading musicians.

    The gigs, which included performances from Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sandé, Jessie Ware, Rudimental, Sauti Sol, Freshlyground, Ludovico Einaudi, the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, Mashrou’ Leila, Faarrow and many more, were all about celebrating a single message of solidarity: Refugees are welcome.

    At a time when the plight of refugees the world over is in the headlines on a daily basis, and with governments pursuing ever more restrictive policies to keep refugees out, it’s a message that’s more urgent now than it’s been in most of our lifetimes.

    September 21, 2017
    Toronto Councillor Joe Mihevc with the Syrian Family he sponsored

    Lots of the examples and stories shared over the past 20 days have been from Canada, and that’s for a very good reason. Canada has had a private refugee sponsorship programme that has existed since the 1970s, and has resettled tens of thousands of refugees through private sponsorship

    Here is a video with Canadian sponsors, and refugees, talking about the scheme and why it is so important.

    Does this sound like something you would like to be part of?

    Contact the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program to find about about refugee sponsorship opportunities in Canada



    See all refugee stories

    September 20, 2017

    What are you good at? You may find that one of your key skills is actually something you could share with refugees.

    Do you speak another language? If there are refugees that need help with interpreting, you could volunteer your skills and make a vital difference.

    Perhaps you are a teacher of your native language? It is crucial for refugees to learn the language in the country they want to settle in, so you could volunteer to teach them, even in the short-term.

    debbie_gofish_440.jpg
    September 20, 2017
    Alex Neve, Secretary General, spoke at Parliament Hill rally in support of Rohingya refugees, Sept 16, 2017

    by Gloria Nafziger, Campaigner, Refugees and Migrants, Amnesty International Canada

    September 19, 2017
    Kenzu Abdella outside the restaurant he helped set up in Peterborough, ON

    One thing a refugee in your community will need is a way to earn a living. They may have been a well respected and highly skilled professional in their country, but they also may find that none of their experience or skills are recognised now.

    Some decide to try something completely new, using skills they gained before.

    Mohammed Alftih was a businessman with decades of experience behind him in Syria, printing T-shirts that were exported, mostly to Europe. When he fled Syria with his family, and finally was resettled in Peterborough, Canada, he didn’t know where to start. But his wife, Randa, was becoming famed locally for the delicious food she cooked for family and friends. So, together with a friend Mohammed made at the mosque, Kenzu Abdellah, they decided to set up a business of their own, with the Oasis Mediterranean Grill, known as OMG.

    September 18, 2017

    There are lots of people – politicians, celebrities, thought leaders - around the world who care deeply and passionately about refugees.

    You can learn from them and you can help highlight what they say and do on social media.

    Find those key, influential people and follow them – share what they post, tell them about what you’re doing as they may share this with their own networks, and you might be surprised at how much you get out of this.

    Take Councillor Joe Mihevc, for example. He is City Councillor in Toronto and is also the refugee advocate for the city of Toronto. Himself the son of refugees, he feels it was “part of his DNA” and he is passionate about welcoming refugees to Toronto and making sure they settle well.

    You can find out more about Joe here:

    There are many people like him, perhaps even some in your local area, so find them and follow what they do and say to help spread their influence even further.

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