On the eve of World Refugee Day, the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) has released Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2019. It shows that the number of persons forcibly displaced “as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order” has doubled over the past decade.
More than half of the 79.5 million persons in these alarming figures are forcibly displaced within their own countries, and 26 million are refugees, defined as someone displaced from their country. More than 40% are children. Two-thirds of those displaced across borders come from only 5 countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar.
A much smaller number, 4.2 million, is able to travel abroad to seek asylum in further countries. Canada, for example, received just under 30,000 refugee claims in 2019, and just under half of them are likely to be accepted based on recent trends. Between persons who made successful refugee claims from within Canada and those who were resettled from refugee camps abroad, Canada welcomed 30,082 refugees in 2019.
On this 70th anniversary of UNHCR, a special resource page focused on refugees in Canada has been created. You are invited to connect with fellow Canadians and refugees and to learn about their stories, families, favourite home-cooked meals, traditions, and more.
Canada is a world leader in refugee welcome, and our country has been changed by refugees. Both of these are worth celebrating.