On International #MigrantsDay, let’s keep welcoming refugees

This Dec. 18 we acknowledge International Migrants Day and reaffirm CPJ’s commitment to standing up for the rights of refugees. With over 258 million migrants and 68.5 million forcibly displaced people across the globe, it is essential that challenges facing migrants be resolved through international cooperation. The recent adoption of the UN’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is a first step to a much needed multilateral framework.

In commemorating this day, we recognize responses to migration from church leaders:

“…all refugees and migrants, regular or irregular, are human beings each created in the image of God, children of God, sisters and brothers, with equal human dignity and rights regardless of their immigration status. To raise national boundaries and the nation state to an order of value above the recognition of the image of God in every refugee and migrant is a kind of idolatry.” – World Council of Churches, Statement on People on the Move: Migrants and Refugees.

“…our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.” – Pope Francis, 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

“When we are called to welcome the stranger, but then policies or attitudes prevent people from coming, we cannot be the church we are called to be.” – Christian Reformed Church, Statement On the Treatment of Refugees

As wars continue to wage on and violence claims the livelihood of the most vulnerable, more must be done to address root causes of migration. We must simultaneously work for systemic change while welcoming those who have been affected; whether they seek refuge by boarding boats through untamed waters, are forced to make their claims through irregular means, or traverse thousands of kilometers in migrant caravans. We commit to upholding the right to migration and protecting those who are in need of safety.

CPJ continues to call on the government to make necessary policy changes that can better support the needs of refugees and claimants in Canada:

We welcome newcomers and recognize that Canada has an on-going need for immigration alongside a desire to support the vulnerable. Immigration in all its forms enriches the country and our diverse communities.


  • Serisha is a former Public Justice Intern at CPJ and the current Executive Director of Leading in Colour, she also sits on the Board of The Solidarity Library. She is a graduate of McGill University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in World Religions. As the child of refugees, Serisha has been a lifelong activist. She has been actively involved in refugee rights advocacy since her selection as a 2017-18 UofMosaic Fellow with The Mosaic Institute and furthered this interest while serving as an executive on several student-led advocacy groups.

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