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Refugees, an introduction. The office o f the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) currently* assists more than 22 million refugees/displaced people world wide. Estimated, in 1990, there were more that 125 million people living outside of their countries of birth

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Refugees an introduction
Refugees, an introduction

  • The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) currently* assists more than 22 million refugees/displaced people world wide.

    • Estimated, in 1990, there were more that 125 million people living outside of their countries of birth

  • Refugee numbers continues to increase due to shorter travel times, low transportation costs, and the ease with which information is exchanged across continents

    • Increases are fuelled by both forced and chosen relocation

      • Refugee: person who has left their country for fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, or political opinion.

        • They are referred to as asylum seekers

          • Economic Migrant is someone who has chosen to relocate due to economic situation

  • *based on 2006 when book published

Refugees in canada
Refugees in Canada

  • 2001 – CAN admitted 28,000 refugees (45,000 refugee claims were made)

    • 47% of claims were given “legitimate status”

      • Countries of origin included:

        • Hungary, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, China, Mexico, Columbia, Turkey, India, Argentina, and Congo-Kinshasa

  • Background in Canada:

  • UN Convention on Refugees, 1951 – Signed by Canada (aka Geneva Convention), this was a convention that granted refugees the right to seek asylum, but did not force countries to accept them

  • Immigration Act, 1976 – incorporated principals of Geneva Convention into domestic law.

    • Refugees seeking asylum based on economic criteria was removed; refugees were considered on the basis of their ability to adapt, not their need for protection.

      • Done to lessen backlog and fraudulent claims – did not solve problem…

Refugees in canada ii
Refugees in Canada II

  • Changes to Canadian Refugee Law, 1989 – further changes were made to curb the issues faced with the refugee process in Canada, including:

    • Oral hearings were to occur within days of the refugee claim

    • Those who brought undocumented persons into Canada could be punished

    • Fraudulent claimants also could be punished

  • New laws imposed harsh penalties on convicted smugglers, and severe fines placed on companies who brought in undocumented persons

    • Also, those who came to Canada illegally, could be detained

    • Those who did things the “right way” could expect a quicker processing time than before

      • Did not necessarily work, see Chinese Boatpeople example, p. 155 in text

Refugees in canada iii
Refugees in Canada III

  • Immigration and Refuge Protection Act, 2001 – IRPA replaced all prior immigration and refugee legislation, made significant changes to asylum procedures, includes:

    • Placed time frame on processing an asylum seeker (3 days)

    • Consideration for asylum can be suspended if “government alleges that the person is inadmissible based on security or criminal grounds or for violating human rights”

      • A hearing will be held to discuss this, admissibility still may occur

    • Also, someone with a criminal record pending in Canada, will be deemed inadmissible until judicial system has dealt with them

  • Illegal Migrants – many who claim refugee status never make it to their hearings

    • Cross in USA, disappear into CAN cities – approx. 4,000 per year

      • There is a backlog of these cases (30,000)

    • Solutions: Better screening/documentation by transportation carriers & immigration officers placed around the globe to intercept illegal migrants before they reach Canada (2000, UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime)

Canadian accomplishments

Canadian Accomplishments

  • Terry Fox:

  • Born: Winnipeg, MB; Raised: Port Coquitlam, BC

  • 1977, 18 years old, diagnosed with bone cancer, forced to havehis right leg amputated

    • As a means to make a difference for all of the other cancer patients – especially children – he met during his treatment, he decided to run across Canada

  • Marathon of Hope: Trained for 18 months, running 5,000 km to prepare for the marathon.

    • April 12, 1980 he started in St. John’s NFLD

  • Running 42 km/day through Atlantic Provinces, Quebec & Ontario, Terry raised money along the way.

  • September 1, following 143 days, he was forced to stop outside of Thunder Bay, ONT because the cancer had reappeared in his lungs

    • June 28, 1981 Terry Fox passed away.

  • To this date*, in Terry’s legacy, there has been $600 million raised for cancer research through the Terry Fox run worldwide

Canadian accomplishments ii
Canadian accomplishments II

  • Rick Hansen:

  • Born: Port Alberni, BC; Raised in Williams Lake, BC

  • Was in a car accident when 15 yrs old, causing him to become paralyzed from the waste down.

  • Very athletic individual, before and after accident. Competed in international wheelchair marathons, and for Canada in 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

    • 1985, decided to wheel around the world to raise awareness and funds for spinal cord injury

  • Man in Motion World Tour – 2 years & 40,000 kms Rick returned to Vancouver raising $26 million.

  • Currently the CEO of the ‘Rick Hansen Man in Motion Foundation


Canadian accomplishments iii
Canadian accomplishments iiI

  • Craig Kielburger:

  • Born: 1982, Thornhill, ONT

  • Spokesperson for children’s rights, 1995 – 12 years old

    • Following an article he read concerning a young boy from Pakistan, Craig and a group of friends founded the organization known as Free the Children

  • International network of children helping children, at the local, national, and international level through leadership and action

    • Primary Goal: Free children from poverty & exploitation, and also free children from the idea that they are powerless to bring about social change

  • Free the Children is a worldwide organization, in 35 countries, and has 100s of 1000s of members.

    • Accomplishments include: construction of 375 primary schools in developing nations providing 30,000+ children with access to education. Also, 125,000 school kits, and excess of $5 million in medical supplies to needing families.


Ok that s all
Ok, that’s all…

  • Please work on your worksheets (3 pages)…

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  • 9:00 Presentation U of Calgary… Library…

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