June 20, 2013
OTTAWA — Canada plays an important role in safeguarding the rights and providing for the well-being of refugees and other displaced people around the world. Today, to mark World Refugee Day, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, announced support to provide innovative technology to help better protect refugees.
“The plight of refugees around the world continues to be of deep concern to Canada,” said Minister Fantino. “Canada’s commitment to refugee protection remains strong. We are delivering innovative solutions to help protect refugees and internally displaced persons.”
Canada’s support will provide refugees in Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda with three innovative technologies: solar streetlights, solar lanterns and fuel-efficient stoves. This investment seeks to make refugee camps safer at night, especially for women and girls who are more vulnerable to sexual violence. This investment will ensure: more than 700 streetlights are installed in refugee camps for greater safety; more than 240,000 refugees benefit from solar lanterns; and more than 100,000 refugees benefit from fuel-efficient stoves that require less firewood.
Canada has been quick to respond to appeals for assistance to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees, having recently announced support for Syrian and Malian refugees since the onset of crises in both countries. Humanitarian needs are increasing across Syria and the region as refugee inflows into neighbouring countries increase.
In Syria, Canada’s contribution has provided food assistance to 2.5 million affected people throughout the country, and to 750,000 Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. In addition, Canada has also helped provide shelter and other assistance to 4 million people inside Syria and to 1.6 million Syrians taking refuge in neighbouring countries.
In response to the Mali crisis, Canada is helping humanitarian agencies to reach as many as 174,000 Malian refugees in Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso, providing them with shelter, health care, protection and emergency food assistance.
“On World Refugee Day, our thoughts are with those who have been forced to leave behind their homes and those they love,” said Minister Fantino. “Canada will remain committed to supporting refugees and internally displaced persons by providing them with assistance and protection until they can return home.”
Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms Canada's commitment to humanitarian work, such as this support to refugees in Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation and the ability to respond to humanitarian crises.
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For more information, media should contact:
Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation