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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or the UN Refugee Agency has set aside Tuesday, June 20 as World Refugee Day

Given the enormous number of refugees who have been sponsored by DofNW parishes and partner organizations over the years, working with the diocesan Refugee Unit as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH),  it seems appropriate that we commemorate World Refugee Day in our diocese. With the federal government’s current commitment to resettle 500,000 people each year for the next three years we will have our work cut out for us.

There are currently 27.1 million refugees registered around the world. This does not include the 53.2 million Internally Displaced Persons, 10 million Stateless persons, and 4.6 Asylum seekers.


The Canadian Council for Refugees of which the Diocese of New Westminster is a member, has the following definition for refugee on its website:  

REFUGEE – a person who is forced to flee from persecution and who is outside of their home country. We may also call this person a Convention refugee – a person who meets the refugee definition in the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. This definition is used in Canadian law and is widely accepted internationally. To meet the definition, a person must be outside their country of origin and have a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.  

Once a refugee is resettled to Canada, having been pre-selected, they arrive as Permanent Residents. All are encouraged to explore both websites linked in this post for more information and definitions.

If you would like to financially support the work of assisting refugee resettlement in our diocese please make a donation to the Bishop’s Fund for Refugee Resettlement by following the process found through this link.