World Refugee Day: Refugees have no choice. You do. Stand up against injustice and intolerance | National Union of Public and General Employees

World Refugee Day: Refugees have no choice. You do. Stand up against injustice and intolerance

The intolerance that is often at the root of internal displacement and refugee flows is also present in some of the countries that refugees flee to. Instead of finding empathy and understanding, they are often met with mistrust or scorn.

logo for World Refugee DayOttawa (20 June 2012) - The theme of the United Nations World Refugee Day 2012 is Refugees have no choice. You do.

Refugees flee their country not for economic gain but to escape persecution, the threat of imprisonment and even threats to their lives. They need a safe haven where they can recover from mental and physical trauma and rebuild their hopes for a better future. 

The intolerance that is often at the root of internal displacement and refugee flows is also present in some of the countries that refugees flee to. Instead of finding empathy and understanding, they are often met with mistrust or scorn.

Most recently in Canada, the Harper government has attempted to justify its changes to the Interim Federal Health Program by promoting a misleading image of refugees and refugee claimants as people who aim to abuse Canada's health care system.

Under the changes to the program, refugees will lose medication coverage, vision and dental care. Health insurance, where available, will be restricted to "urgent or essential care" but there will be no further coverage for preventative care. Refugee claimants originating from countries the Minister feels should not be producing refugees will lose all health coverage, including for urgent or essential care. Although, all refugees will continue to be covered if a doctor determines there are public health or public security concerns.

To show the growing opposition to the changes, on June 18, health care professionals and supporters rallied on Parliament Hill and in cities across the country.

While most refugees want to return home, many are unable to do so because of conflict and fear of persecution. They will try to pick up the pieces of their lives and start again.

On World Refugee Day, it is important to remember that no one chooses to become a refugee but we do have a choice in how we welcome them.

How you can get involved: 

More information: 

Join the National Day of Action for Refugee Health Care on June 18

Doctors for Refugee Care: http://www.doctorsforrefugeecare.ca/

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE