VICTORIA, B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, B.C. Green MLA for Cowichan Valley, issued the following statement today in recognition of World Refugee Day:
“In the words of the United Nations, World Refugee Day is intended to commemorate the strength, courage, and perseverance of refugees all over the world. This recognition is especially poignant today: there are currently more displaced people than at any other point in history, numbering over 68 million individuals. These people, many of them children, are fleeing violence, climate change, poverty and other unimaginable horrors.
“We have a responsibility as Canadians and as human beings to offer compassion to people seeking asylum. Yet in the United States asylum seekers are being forcibly separated from their families. I cannot condemn these actions enough. I, along with my colleagues in the B.C. Green Caucus, am horrified by the rhetoric and policies that rip young children from their parents’ arms with no foreseeable reunification in sight.
“Research shows that the separation of children from their parents is deeply traumatic and can affect the health of children for the rest of their lives. These refugees are fleeing unsafe places; the countries that they are fleeing to are replicating this violence and trauma. Keeping families together must be a key priority of any sensible, compassionate, effective government whenever children are involved.
“In the words of poet Warsan Shire, ‘no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.’ As people and as a government, we have a responsibility to keep families together and to stand up for refugees all around the world.”
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