World Refugee Day

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World Refugee Day In Waterloo Region

"Becoming Neighbours"

About 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.

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 globally as World Refugee Day. It acknowledges 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, CCORIC 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. We invite you to join us in reflecting our annual theme, “Becoming Neighbours.”

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

Reception house art instal

World Refugee Wouldn't Be Possible Without Our Partners

World Refugee Day Events

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“In June 2018, I received a World Refugee Day Award of Distinction for my volunteer work in Waterloo Region. I was happy and proud to receive this award. On the day of the awards, I remembered how I came to Canada as a refugee, knowing no one. And there I was, now a Canadian Citizen, being recognized for my work with refugees and immigrants. This award has inspired me to go forward working to assist refugees and vulnerable community members in our Region and everywhere in Canada.”

- Muna Al-Nidawi