June 20, 2012
The plight of refugees around the world is of deep concern to Canada. Worldwide there are an estimated 15.2 million refugees. During 2011, crises in North Africa, the Middle East, Cote d'Ivoire, Somalia, and Sudan forced nearly 800,000 people to become refugees.
While in exile, people in protracted refugee situations often suffer a lack of physical security, no legal status, and human rights abuses. Their presence can also put pressure on the local population or countries of asylum, adding to regional conflicts and instability.
In places like Pakistan, Eastern Sudan, and Kenya, we see entire generations of new refugees born in refugee camps far from their homes and communities.
We continue to work towards solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons. Together with our partners, we place a special focus on preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, and abuses against vulnerable people. In 2010, with the support of CIDA and other donors, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees helped more than 25 million people around the world.
On World Refugee Day, our thoughts are with the people around the world forced to suffer as refugees far from their homes. We remain committed to providing refugees and internally displaced persons with food, water, health care, shelter, and protection, until they can return to their homes.
Beverley J. Oda
Minister of International Cooperation