June 20, 2017
"On World Refugee Day, we honour the strength and resilience of the millions of people around the world fleeing conflict, insecurity, and persecution. We solemnly acknowledge the hardships they face, celebrate the significant contributions they make to our communities, and recognize the dedication of those who help them.
“Today, over 65 million people are displaced around the world, and more than 22 million of them are refugees. They flee unlivable situations in their homelands, crossing deserts and seas to escape, and carrying dreams of a new life even as they struggle with intense loss. These hardships particularly affect women, who bear different and disproportionate effects of conflict and insecurity.
“Canadians are fortunate to live in a country shaped, over the centuries, by the dreams and hard work of millions of immigrants and refugees. Today, we recognize their dignity and potential. Despite the hardships they face, these individuals make many contributions to shape the diverse, strong, and prosperous country Canada is today.
“Canada has a long tradition of welcoming refugees, and today, Canadians continue to help newcomers establish their lives here with compassion and openness. In recent years, communities across the country have welcomed over 40,000 Syrian refugees. Their generosity illustrates the spirit of compassion that defines us as Canadians. When we embrace our differences and come together to welcome newcomers, we strengthen our communities in enduring ways.
“Rising conflict, insecurity, and persecution today have led to migration levels not seen since the Second World War. We have a global responsibility to respond to this crisis and to support those who are forced to leave home. We must address the root causes of forced migration by seeking diplomatic solutions for violent conflicts and standing united in the fight against terrorism. We must also redouble our efforts on climate change, so that it does not further exacerbate insecurity in the world.
“Today, I call on Canadians and people around the world to stand with people seeking shelter from enormous hardship and violence. Refugees are forced to leave home, but they carry with them dreams for their children and the hope of creating a better world. Let us show compassion for their plight, recognize their dignity, and continue to see ourselves in each other.”