Charlottetown – On this International Human Rights Day, CUPE PEI commends our Provincial and Federal governments for their commitment to bring Syrian refugees to Canada.

“Millions of Syrians have fled their conflict-torn country and are seeking a safe place to live. Welcoming these refugees is the humanitarian thing to do”, says Lori MacKay, President of CUPE PEI. We support the Trudeau government’s decision to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada by the end of February 2016. As part of that plan, Premier MacLauchlan has agreed to take in 100 Syrian refugees by the end of the year and another 150 in 2016”.

“We do have concerns about the government’s decision to place low priority on assisting unaccompanied men. But gay, bisexual or transgender males who are vulnerable to persecution will be welcomed under a plan that prioritizes women, children and families”.

International Human Rights Day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948. “The Declaration set a common standard for all people around the world. It said everyone should enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want. The United Nations has continued to build on this human rights foundation to recognize the particular challenges faced by refugees and migrant workers, women, children, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples.”

“Now more than ever, solidary is important. Refugees need our support, not reactions based on fear, ignorance or hatred. We want a more inclusive society, not one that marginalizes people because of differences.”

“Islanders can help by volunteering their time and skills or donating money or goods. Find out more by contacting the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada or the Canadian Council for Refugees”.