Members of the community gather at a refugee recognition event held by the Inter-Cultural Association of Victoria. ICA photo

How to sponsor a refugee, global refugee situation only worsening

‘U.S. is no longer a safe place for refugees,’ says local MP

As the global refugee crisis is only worsening the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria is hosting an upcoming event to inform residents how they can help.

The Inter-Cultural Association is aware that many in the region are concerned about the global refugee situation, and all are invited to the upcoming Responding to the Refugee Crisis event, July 21, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Cadboro Bay United Church, 2625 Arbutus Rd.

The event aims to enlighten locals of different ages and circumstances to assist in a way that matches their time, talents and capacities, said Sabine Lehr, who manages private sponsorship of refugees for the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria.

A panel of local refugee sponsors will speak at the event, Aviva Basman, a senior legal officer and head of protection for the UN Refugee Agency Canada, and Mohammed Alsaleh, a former refugee, a TED Talk speaker and a trainer for the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program.

“For all who are curious about refugee sponsorship but don’t know where to start, or who simply want to learn more about what sponsorship entails and how it helps refugees, this is an excellent event to get many of your questions answered,” Lehr said.

Just last week, Lehr and Esquimalt-Sooke-Saanich MP Randall Garrison spoke out about the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement at Saanich Neighbourhood Place (George Pearkes Community Recreation Centre).

The third-country agreement does not allow refugees to claim asylum in Canada via the U.S.

Garrison and fellow NDP members of the house want it suspended.

“The Safe Third Country Agreement is putting the lives of refugees at risk,” Garrison said. “It is clear that the U.S. is no longer a safe place for refugees, so I am calling on the Liberal government to immediately suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement and protect the lives of refugees attempting to claim asylum in our country.”

Attendance is free for the Responding to Refugee Crisis event at Cadboro Bay United Church but organizers ask that participants please register at www.eventbrite.ca (and search for Responding to the Refugee Crisis).

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