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Canada Celebrated World Refugee Day with a Special Theme


On June 20, 2008 Canada celebrated the World Refugee Day by joining many countries around the world in honouring the strength and courage of refugees everywhere. With this year's theme of "Protecting Refugees: Rebuilding Lives in Safety and Dignity," the day was an occasion to celebrate the remarkable determination of refugees who have lived in hardship and who now have a chance to rebuild their lives in security.

"Every year, World Refugee Day allows us to recognize the courage of the millions of refugees who have been living in uncertain, difficult conditions, often for long periods of time," said the Honourable Diane Finley, the honourable Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Minister Finley attended two citizenship ceremonies in Ottawa and Toronto. Refugees were among those taking their oath of citizenship.

Canada accepts more than 30,000 refugees every year. This includes those who come to Canada and successfully claim refugee status and refugees living overseas that Canada agrees to resettle. In fact, through its resettlement program, Canada selects 10,000 to 12,000 refugees annually from around the world, making it a global leader in resettlement efforts. These refugees represent 10 percent of the 100,000 refugees who are resettled every year worldwide.

Canada is a leading advocate for the protection of refugees around the world. Canada is a strong supporter of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) to support relief efforts, who provides protection and promotes durable solutions. Canada is particularly committed to working with the international community to find lasting solutions for refugees who have been living in exile for decades.

In 2008, Canada announced the resettlement of 1,300 more Karen refugees and up to 2,000 Iraqi refugees. Canada has also comitted to resettle up to 5,000 Bhutanese refugees over the next three to five years. Once they are here, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will work closely with settlement service providers, private sponsors and the provinces to deliver the services and supports that will help them adapt to life in Canada.

In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 20 as World Refugee Day to bring attention to the plight of the world's refugees and to offer support, encouragement and respect.



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