VSHA Humanist Cafe

Wednesday, July 15, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
James Bay New Horizons
 234 Menzies Street James Bay

Topic: World Refugees: The Worsening Problem
Moderator: John Pope

A staggering 60 million people in the world have become refugees according to the latest (June 2015) UN Refugee Agency report. 

“[If it were] counted as the population of a single country, it would be the 24th largest in the world and one with about the same number of people as Italy.” :
UN Refugee Agency report “World at War: Forced Displacement in 2014” [excellent graphics]: http://unhcr.org/556725e69.html

According to the UN, one in every 122 people is displaced by war, violence and persecution.

Amnesty International has also reported: “’We are witnessing the worst refugee crisis of our era, with millions of women, men and children struggling to survive amidst brutal wars, networks of people traffickers and governments who pursue selfish political interests instead of showing basic human compassion,’ said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general.”  Amnesty International Report June 2015: http://static.guim.co.uk/ni/1434356535972/The-Global-Refugee-Crisis-a.pdf

Syria alone has seen 4 million of it’s citizens seek asylum elsewhere.  Countries neighbouring Syria are overwhelmed and cannot cope.  Syrian and African refugees have been taking dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean to Europe.  Thousands have died en route.

The world has responded tentatively to the crisis.  Canada has agreed to accept more refugees: “Canada vows to accept 13,000 more refugees from Syria and Iraq”  Jan. 2015:

Europe is dealing with a serious refugee situation“Migrant crisis: EU quota plan to take 20,000 refugees”  May 2015:  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32719014

More informative articles:

“World leaders accused of shameful failure over refugee crisis” June 2015:

“One in every 122 people is displaced by war, violence and persecution, says UN” June 2015:

Excellent background information: “Refugees: Risks and Challenges Worldwide” Nov. 2002:

United Nations – “Refugees: The Numbers”:



Who qualifies as a refugee?

What are the International concerns?  Should new national policies be adopted, or are the current policies adequate to handle the problem?

Is Canada doing enough to help solve this problem?

What are the consequences for countries that accept more refugees?  Should Europe turn away boat loads of refugees?

Is there a limit to the number of refugees a country can accept?

Under what global conditions will the number of refugees be reduced?

See you there!  Bring a friend.