World Refugee Day: “This Crisis Demands Courage”

Kathleen Prior/CARE

The following statement is from CARE Canada President and CEO Gillian Barth:

Data released from the UN Refugee Agency paints a startling picture that we know all too well. More than 68.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to persecution, conflict or violence.

In addition to ongoing refugee crises from such places as Syria and South Sudan, last year saw more than 650,000 people flee violence in Myanmar is less than 100 days.

But behind these shocking numbers are individuals looking to escape unimaginable horror, in search of better lives.

They are mothers and fathers facing decisions no parent should ever be forced to make.

They are girls and boys who should be in school. Or teenagers at a critical turning point in their lives wondering if they will have a real future.

Sadly, the human tragedy unfolding has been masked with labels, mistruths, stereotypes and scapegoating. Those most at risk have been lost to a sea of rhetoric and xenophobia.

The result: Children are being separated from their parents. Ships full of vulnerable people are left floating in the Mediterranean. Developing countries host 85 per cent of refugees, while richer states build walls and add barbed wire.

This crisis demands courage, that governments rise above fear and prejudice, and uphold international norms and human rights.

Countries, including Canada, can do more to help displaced people move forward with their lives.

  • More can and must be done to share responsibility with developing countries who, in hosting large numbers of refugees, are providing a critical global public good.
  • Canadian leadership towards the adoption of a new Global Compact on Refugees this autumn is crucial to strengthen the rules-based international order and ensure human rights are upheld for all displaced people.
  • Humanitarian assistance must ensure the specific needs of women, men, boys and girls are met, and that adequate support is provided to help displaced people lead productive and dignified lives.
  • Wealthy countries cannot shy away from resettlement.
  • Finally, it’s vital we address those factors such as poverty, conflict and violence, which are driving migration and the influx of refugees in the first place.

If we let fear and anger lead this discussion, the crisis will only continue to worsen.


CARE has spokespeople available abroad or Canadians who have recently travelled to assess refugee programming. To arrange an interview, contact:

Darcy Knoll
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada | 613-228-5641