World Refugee Day
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that at the end of 2012 there were 15.4 million refugees worldwide. In 2012 an average of 23,000 individuals were forced to flee their homes each day due to conflict and persecution. UNHCR estimates that 46% of refugees are under the age of 18. June 20th marks World Refugee Day, when the entire international community celebrates the stories, the perseverance, and the contributions of refugees. On December 4th, 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 55/76 to mark June 20th as World Refugee Day. Since 2001, the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, June 20th has been recognized as World Refugee Day. World Refugee Day recognizes the courage and strength of people forced to feel their homes. History of Offering Refuge in Waterloo June 20th marks World Refugee Day, when the international community celebrates the stories, perseverance, and contributions of refugees. On 4 December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 55/76 to mark June 20th as World Refugee Day. Since 2001, the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, June 20th has been recognized as World Refugee Day. World Refugee Day recognizes the courage and strength of people forced to feel their homes.
History of Offering Refuge in Waterloo Region
Waterloo Region has a rich history of welcoming and providing safe haven and new beginnings to people who have come as refugees. People from all parts of the world, supported by private or government sponsorships or who come to Canada and then seek refugee status, have made this community their home. We become neighbours and friends, and the history, culture, languages, and stories that people bring to this community make us all richer. In fact, unless we are members of the First Nations, all of our families have come to Canada to begin new lives and settle in new communities. World Refugee day is a chance to reflect on our community’s stories of journeys made.
World Refugee Day Waterloo Region
Since 2002, the Community Coalition on Refugee and Immigrant Concerns (CCORIC) has been organizing yearly events in recognition of World Refugee Day. Starting in 2013, rather than organizing one event on June 20th, COORIC reached out the broader community, engaging a broad range of stakeholders in turning World Refugee Day from a single event into a month long community effort to celebrate our Region’s rich history of offering refuge to people fleeing their home countries. In 2015, the Immigration Partnership Waterloo Region’s Belong Steering Group took on a coordinating and partnering role. Along with CCORIC, the Immigration Partnership acts as a community animator and we now have partners and events happening in Cambridge as well as Kitchener Waterloo. We invite you to join us in reflecting on this year’s theme, “Waterloo Region Celebrates Refugees”
World Refugee Day Waterloo Region Objectives:
Join the community-wide observation of the World Refugee Day • Connect with and take pride in our community’s collective history of providing refuge • Gain awareness about refugees and their realities • Recognize and celebrate the contributions of refugees in our community • Explore how we can create a safe and welcoming environment for refugees • Encourage inclusion and belonging for all in Waterloo Region
Community Coalition on Refugee and Immigrant Concerns (CCORIC):
Established 2000, CCORIC is a networking organization whose members include representatives from immigrant and refugee serving organizations such as the K-W Multicultural Centre, YMCA Immigrant Services, Reception House Waterloo Region, Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support, and the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre; and community members who are committed to increasing awareness of the realities faced by immigrants and refugees in our community. CCORIC advocates for systemic changes that are responsive to the needs of both immigrant and refugee communities. CCORIC has presented forums and events to bring attention to the need for appropriate interpretation services in hospitals, family reunification and the need for mental health services.
The Waterloo Region Immigration Partnership has a community-wide commitment to support and integrate immigrants in Waterloo Region. It was created on the conviction that successful settlement and integration is a mutually beneficial process that involves both immigrants and the broader community engaging in a process of mutual learning and inter-relatedness. Our definition of “Immigrants” includes people who immigrated a long time ago or more recently, refugees and refugee claimants, immigrants who are and are not Canadian citizens and all newcomers to Canada, who are living in Waterloo Region.
OUR VISION: Waterloo Region will be a community where immigrants and refugees can settle, work and belong.
OUR MISSION: The Immigration Partnership helps facilitate successful settlement, integration and community involvement of immigrants and refugees in Waterloo Region.