International Migrant Day is December 18

Topics: Migrant and Refugee Services
December 19, 2013

International Migrant Day is December 18

The Canadian Red Cross provides a range of migrant and refugee services and is committed to helping new Canadian arrivals find the resources they need. The charity organization's First Contact program offers migrants and refugees 24/7 emergency telephone services for those in need of immediate shelter assistance, as well as a drop-in centre where individuals can access the Internet and obtain information about settlement services.

The Canadian Red Cross also offers SmartStart First Aid Training for those whose first language may not be English or French, and a similar SmartStart Disaster Preparedness program.

International Migrant Day
International Migrant Day takes place every year on December 18. The event, which originated in 2000 and was proclaimed by the U.N. General Assembly, is an opportunity for organizations like the Canadian Red Cross to spread information about the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants. This is done partially through the sharing of personal stories from migrants, as well as the push for action ensuring these people's protection.

As part of a dialogue on international migration, the U.N. has emphasized that it is a "growing phenomenon," which could have a positive impact for a number of countries with the right policies in place to guide immigration.

"As budgets tighten, we are seeing austerity measures that discriminate against migrant workers, xenophobic rhetoric that encourages violence against irregular migrants, and proposed immigration laws that allow the police to profile migrants with impunity," said Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the U.N. on International Migrants Day 2012. "During economic downturns, it is worth remembering that whole sectors of the economy depend on migrant workers and migrant entrepreneurs help to create jobs."

The Canadian Red Cross strives to address the humanitarian concerns and needs of migrants, and working with the vulnerable is part of the organizations' fundamental principles. But the Canadian Red Cross is also aware that migration and refugee services should evolve over time, to ensure that programs remain effective and reflect a regularly reviewed policy. With the guidance of U.N.-backed events like International Migration Day, non-profit organizations can spread their messages far and wide.

Want to be a part of International Migration Day? Get involved with the Canadian Red Cross. You can donate any time and help support migrant and refugee services.