A refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country owing to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”, according to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention. Many refugees are in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters.
World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on June 20 and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.
UNHCR World Refugee Day 2023 Theme: Hope away from Home. A world where refugees are always included.
This year, World Refugee Day focuses on the power of inclusion and solutions for refugees.
Including refugees in the communities where they have found safety after fleeing conflict and persecution is the most effective way to support them in restarting their lives and enable them to contribute to the countries hosting them. It’s also the best way to prepare them to return home and rebuild their countries when conditions allow them to do so safely and voluntarily or to thrive if they are resettled to another country.
To learn more, visit UNHCR – World Refugee Day
World Refugee Day events in Regina:
June 19 - The Refugee Experience
CBC’s noon radio show Blue Sky hosts a conversation with refugees in Saskatchewan about their experiences, challenges and triumphs.
Click here to Tune in live.
June 19 - Empowering Former Refugees for Financial Independence
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: in person at 2314 – 11th Ave, Regina, Sask., S4P 0K1 or online via Zoom
This workshop will explore common financial challenges former refugees face upon resettlement in Canada. We will explore key elements of financial literacy, including making budgets, managing expenses, understanding credit and debt management, and saving for the future.
Facilitated by Gilbert Niyoyita and Patience Umereweneza
Gilbert, a former sponsored student by WUSC Regina, commenced his academic journey at the University of Regina in 2015. Having endured a substantial portion of his life as a refugee, he found solace and a new sense of belonging in Canada. Pursuing a degree in Business Administration at the University of Regina, coupled with his past experiences as a refugee, proved instrumental in providing him with valuable insights and opportunities in the realm of project management and the supply chain industry.
Dedicated to community service and volunteering, Gilbert finds fulfillment in giving back to others. He has a particular interest in serving as a mentor, guiding individuals along their own paths to success. Gilbert likes to listen and share resilience stories of the monumental experience of being a refugee to finding a new home.
Patience Umereweneza came to Canada in 2008 as a refugee student and landed in Regina, Saskatchewan. She was sponsored through the University of Regina Group for Refugees and graduated with a Bachelor of Health Studies degree. Over the years, Patience has been involved in various social justice groups and initiatives that tackle various issues including the environment, immigration, poverty and inequality in Canada. She has spent the last seven years working in the interpersonal violence sector supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and currently works at the Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan. She has worked hard to make Regina her home and can be found enjoying walks around the lake, attending local plays and concerts, and enjoying time with dear friends.
June 19 - Learn How to Sponsor Refugees
Time: 8:00 pm
Location: Online via Zoom
Attend this information session to learn about the Group of Five and Community Sponsor categories, the application process, and the importance of sponsorship in supporting refugees’ successful resettlement.
Whether you are an individual, a community group, or an organization, this session will equip you with the knowledge and resources necessary to impact the lives of refugees positively.
June 20 - WRD Day Recognition event
Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Location: 1861 St. Paul’s Cathedral McIntyre St, Regina, SK S4P 2R2
World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding of the plight of refugees and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.
On Tuesday, June 20th, 2023 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm, the Regina Open Door Society (RODS) will be hosting a World Refugee Day (WRD) event. Please join us at the St. Paul’s Cathedral at 1861 McIntyre Street.
The program will include the presentation of the 2023 newcomer bursary awards followed by entertainment. Information will be provided on World Refugee Day, the plight of refugees and their contributions to Regina.
Join us to celebrate the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution.
June 20 - Defending Refugee Rights at Home and Around the World
Time: 2:00 pm
Location: Online via zoom
Amnesty International is the world’s largest human rights movement of more than 10 million people, campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.
In this session, we will hear from volunteers with the Regina Amnesty International Group about the work Amnesty International undertakes to defend refugee rights around the world, in Canada and here in Regina.
June 20 - Resettling and Rebuilding: Stories from Former Refugees in Regina
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Hampton Hub 1221 15th Ave, Regina, SK S4P 0Y8
Join us for a teach-in Tuesday to hear the stories of resettling and rebuilding from former refugees from Syria, Myanmar, and Ukraine.
Abdulsalam, Naw, and Iryna will share their personal journeys of resettlement and their incredible resilience.
Volunteer with our Welcoming Community for Newcomers Program
Volunteers are matched with a newcomer and participate in social activities together, such as conversation circles, informal ESL tutoring, cooking classes, doing homework together, attending sports events, going on community tours, meeting for coffee, and attending a community or cultural events. You and the newcomer will mutually decide on the nature of the activity, and when, where and how frequently to meet.
Targeted Matching Program: as a mentor, you will be matched with a newcomer family for a period of one year to help newcomers participate in the community. With your support newcomers will be able to improve their language skills, build social and professional networks, learn about life in Canada and Regina, and prepare for work in Canada.
To learn more and get involved contact Deborah at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sponsor a Refugee
The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is hosting a webinar that addresses The Global Refugee Crisis and the Impact of COVID-19 on Refugees and Resettlement.
They will discuss how Canadians can sponsor refugees through a program that identifies those in the most dire need of resettlement. This is called the BVOR program. They will also review the services that RSTP offers to sponsors.
At the end of 2021, the total number of people worldwide who were forced to flee their homes due to conflicts, violence, fear of persecution and human rights violations was 89.3 million. This is more than double the 42.7 million people who remained forcibly displaced a decade ago and the most since World War II. (UNHCR)
The full Global Trends report, which includes data on individual countries, demographics, numbers of people returning to their countries, and available estimates of stateless populations is available here.
Understanding the Terminology
Asylum seekers say they are refugees and have fled their homes as refugees do, but their claim to refugee status is not yet definitively evaluated in the country to which they fled.
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are people who have not crossed an international border but have moved to a different region than the one they call home within their own country.
Stateless persons do not have a recognized nationality and do not belong to any country.
Stateless situations are usually caused by discrimination against certain groups. Their lack of identification — a citizenship certificate — can exclude them from access to important government services, including health care, education or employment.
Returnees are former refugees who return to their own countries or regions of origin after time in exile. Returnees need continuous support and reintegration assistance to ensure that they can rebuild their lives at home.