Syrian Refugee Crisis
How to help:
- Sponsor a refugee(s)
- Advocate to MPs for an expedited process for Syrian refugees
- Offer humanitarian aid in the form of donations
As the Syrian civil war is well into its third year, the number of displaced Syrians continues to grow. Violence in Syria has caused many to flee their homes – in September 2013 the UN reported that 6.5 million Syrians have been displaced with an estimated 2 million fleeing to neighbouring countries. Foreign aid is crucial for maintaining the health and safety of these people.
So what can we do?
Refugee Sponsorship is a life-line.
For 2014 The Canadian Government has added 1000 private sponsorship spaces for Syrian refugees in Jordan or Lebanon. As a church committed to helping refugees, We can help ensure that each space gets used and advocate for a response that helps more than 1000 individuals.
The United Church of Canada, a Sponsorship Agreement Holder is ready to help congregations sponsor refugees. Contact Khwaka Kukubo at the General Council Office’s refugee desk.
Things to know about refugee sponsorship:
- The United Church supports refugees who need protection regardless of religious affiliation
- It helps if the refugee is registered with the UNHCR
- The sponsor’s moral and financial commitment is for a refugee’s first year in Canada
- A Congregation can work with other congregations or with the refugee’s family in Canada to support the newcomer(s) for that first year.
- For BC Conference support, or to get matched with a Syrian refugee who hopes to be reconnected with family members in BC email Khwaka Kukubo or the BC Conference office.
- Private refugee sponsorship application forms are available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website
Advocate to improve the refugee process in Canada
- Write or visit to your local MP to ask for their help. Individual letters command most attention but numbers also count so ask the congregation to participate. Find your local MP on the Parliament of Canada website
- Letters can also be copied the Minister of Immigration: Honourable Chris Alexanderat Minister@cic.gc.ca.
By mail, please write to the following address:
The Honourable Chris Alexander, P.C., M.P.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
What to write about:
- We need expedited (fast tracked) movement of Syrian refugees (the immigration process can take 2-3 years or more)
- We need more spaces for privately sponsored Syrian refugees (1000 is not enough)
- We need a Government Assisted Refugee program that is more responsive to the crisis. The government has committed to only 200 spaces for Syrians. Private Sponsors cannot do the work alone.
- We need special consideration for fast tracked Family Class Sponsorship for Syrians (family reunification for parents, grandparents and dependent children) in this time of war
- We need Super Visas (for parents & grandparents) with a humanitarian & compassionate emphasis so that senior Syrians can actually be granted these Visitor Visas & find temporary relief with their families in Canada
Humanitarian Aid: how to contribute
Food, shelter, medical and social services are urgently required for displaced Syrians in Syria and surrounding countries.
Support the United Church’s Syrian Refugee Emergency Appeal.
Find out more about what international NGOs are doing right now by visiting the following links:
United Church congregations can offer hope by sponsoring refugee(s). Broad base community activism can encourage the Canadian Government to improve the current refugee process. Prayers and donations will help to provide vital supplies and resources to displaced Syrians in need. All three humanitarian responses help neighbouring countries keep their borders and services open to Syrian refugees,
Every little bit will make a difference in someone’s life; a caring response can and will change the world.