CLWR’s refugee program team are busier than usual this week!
From May 27-29, Jenn Ardon from our Eastern Regional Office, and Fikre Tsehai, Senait Biadgilign and Elizabeth Galvez from our Western Regional Office are attending a meeting organized by the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP). This is an annual event in which Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) will meet to discuss policy and regulatory changes in the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program (PSRP).
CLWR has been an SAH with the Canadian government since 1979, allowing us to manage sponsorship of refugees together with congregations and other groups.
On May 27, Fikre was elected to serve on the NGO/Government committee of the PSRP. Congrats, Fikre!
Next, the CLWR refugee team will be among 300 delegates attending a consultation organized by the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) in Burnaby, BC, from May 30 to June 1.
During the last two years, the federal government has made major changes to the process for inland refugee claims and the resettlement program in which Canada takes in refugees escaping civil war and other dangers overseas. The main objective of the CCR meeting is to discuss the implications of these changes and develop strategies on how to advocate on behalf of refugees who have made claims on Canadian soil as well as refugees from abroad. Fikre will moderate a meeting on security in refugee camps overseas, and Lennart Hernander from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) will be coming from Kenya to participate.
Lennart is involved in managing refugee camps in Kenya, including Kakuma camp and Dadaab, which is the largest refugee camp in the world. CLWR provides support to these camps, and to the Za’atari camp in Jordan, through our partnership with LWF.
There are tens of thousands of refugees in the world today who are displaced by war and persecution. For these refugees, the only hope they have is to be resettled in a third country. The United States, Australia and Canada are the major resettlement countries, but the gap between the need for resettlement and the spaces offered by resettlement countries is widening. These meetings are important venues for collaboration as we adapt to changes in refugee-related policies and respond to the need many refugees have for a safe, new home.