Late on Tuesday afternoon, minister Goodale -- or likely his staff -- issued a press release that appears as a blog on the Huffington Post Canada. In it, the minister says he has heard the concerns and is working swiftly to remedy the problem -- but he just needs more time. Yet, under his watch as minister of public safety, three people have died in immigration detention in the last five months. This is a tragedy and a political crisis. These three, Francisco Romero Astorga, Melkioro Gahungu and an unidentified man, all ran out of time. And so has the minister.
Some mothers feel grateful that they're still alive and at least have their children with them. One mother, who has been raising her children in this tented settlement for the past four years, said she wished they had stayed behind in Syria. She said it would be better to have died than to be living as they are.
Today, we mark World Refugee Day, amidst the most challenging and troubling time for global refugee protection since World War II. It is time to turn the global focus away from the cruel and illegal means now used to keep refugees away; and instead embrace our shared international responsibility to ensure they are safe.
A new how-to manual for aid workers lays out the issues and practical steps that all must take to ensure women's sexual and reproductive health and rights, including menstrual health that is a precursor to preventing and mitigating gender based violence. Included in these guidelines is a specific requirement to ensure dignified access to hygiene-related materials.
I believe Canada must do more and become a global model. Canada should increase its acceptance of refugees, regardless of their home country. A refugee is a refugee, regardless of their origin. Settling a larger number of refugees each year is just one solution Canada could consider. Canada should also provide increased humanitarian assistance in crisis situations, and increase its development assistance in fragile states.
The current global migration crisis has been exacerbated by governments shirking their obligations to protect people during their most vulnerable moments. States are increasingly disregarding their responsibilities to uphold the rights of migrants and refugees, and are failing to treat them with humanity and dignity.
Whether through civil war or other forms of conflict, natural disasters or climate related disasters such as drought, the global scale of displaced people is unprecedented. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates there are now over 60 million forcibly displaced people around the world including 19.5 million refugees -- the highest number on record!
The holy month of Ramadan is upon us. This is a time when Muslims all around the world abstain from all food, drink and sexual pleasure during daylight hours. It is also a time when Muslims remember those less fortunate around the world by giving a portion of their wealth to charitable causes. Every Ramadan, here at Islamic Relief Canada, we pick a global issue that we campaign and fundraise on, and this month we're calling for more action towards ending the global refugee crisis.
Za'atari is a refugee camp -- 80,000 people live here now -- but it is in the process of becoming a city. New people are not arriving, another camp is taking those people now. And it is hard to know how many more people Jordan can take -- this country of a little more than six million people is also home to nearly three million refugees.
Truthfully, unless you are a member of our indigenous peoples, we are all immigrants, regardless if you gained your citizenship yesterday or 16 generations ago. Historically, immigrants and refugees who adopted Canada as their country of choice contributed to the development of Canada's social, economic and civil fabric.
Even those Canadians reporting the highest knowledge about immigration history believe we have always been welcoming. Yet the country's history offers more than enough examples of restrictive immigration practices to suggest that there is at least a bit of ignorance among those of us presuming the most knowledge.
After living amid the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey for a year after graduating from the University of Toronto, Nouhaila Chelkhaoui knew she wanted to help make a positive impact on the lives of newcomers. Her return to Toronto gave her the opportunity to do just that, as she joined U of T startup iamsick's newest initiative, which helps refugees navigate Canada's complex healthcare system.