OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/20/13 -- Canada plays an important role in safeguarding the rights and providing for the well-being of refugees and other displaced people around the world. Today, to mark World Refugee Day, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, announced support to provide innovative technology to help better protect refugees.
"The plight of refugees around the world continues to be of deep concern to Canada," said Minister Fantino. "Canada's commitment to refugee protection remains strong. We are delivering innovative solutions to help protect refugees and internally displaced persons."
Canada's support will provide refugees in Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda with three innovative technologies: solar streetlights, solar lanterns and fuel-efficient stoves. This investment seeks to make refugee camps safer at night, especially for women and girls who are more vulnerable to sexual violence. This investment will ensure: more than 700 streetlights are installed in refugee camps for greater safety; more than 240,000 refugees benefit from solar lanterns; and more than 100,000 refugees benefit from fuel-efficient stoves that require less firewood.
Canada has been quick to respond to appeals for assistance to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees, having recently announced support for Syrian and Malian refugees since the onset of crises in both countries. Humanitarian needs are increasing across Syria and the region as refugee inflows into neighbouring countries increase.
In Syria, Canada's contribution has provided food assistance to 2.5 million affected people throughout the country, and to 750,000 Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. In addition, Canada has also helped provide shelter and other assistance to 4 million people inside Syria and to 1.6 million Syrians taking refuge in neighbouring countries.
In response to the Mali crisis, Canada is helping humanitarian agencies to reach as many as 174,000 Malian refugees in Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso, providing them with shelter, health care, protection and emergency food assistance.
"On World Refugee Day, our thoughts are with those who have been forced to leave behind their homes and those they love," said Minister Fantino. "Canada will remain committed to supporting refugees and internally displaced persons by providing them with assistance and protection until they can return home."
Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms Canada's commitment to humanitarian work, such as this support to refugees in Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation and the ability to respond to humanitarian crises.
Supporting Technology for Better Refugee Protection
Canada will invest $5 million over one year in the Supporting Innovation Technology for Better Refugee Protection project, through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This support will not only make refugee camps in Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda safer at night by adding innovative lighting, it will also help protect women and girls that are more vulnerable to sexual violence because of the almost daily need to leave camps in search of firewood.
The Government of Canada's investment will provide refugees with the following three innovative technologies:
-- Solar streetlights
Three types of solar streetlights will be used, depending on local needs. The streetlights will improve visibility and safety in public and remote areas, with more sophisticated ones in close proximity to schools and clinics.
-- Solar lanterns
Solar lanterns will provide a warm, white-coloured light suitable for children as they study. These lanterns can also be adapted to provide solar charge to mobile phones.
-- Save80 cooking stoves
Save80 is a recently developed fuel-efficient stove that is sturdy, robust and efficient. These stainless steel stoves are easy to transport, and save up to 80 percent of firewood through the use of heat-retention boxes.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
The UNHCR is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and provide for the well-being of refugees and other displaced people of concern to the High Commissioner, and to facilitate durable solutions.
Canada's Response to the Syrian and Malian Crises
To date in 2013, Canada has provided $68.5 million in humanitarian assistance to respond to the needs of those affected both inside Syria and those seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.
In addition, on June 17th, 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an envelope of $90 million in new support in response to the revised humanitarian requirements included in the appeals of June 7th, 2013. With this announcement, Canada will become the fifth-largest donor of humanitarian assistance to the Syrian crisis.
In January, the Government of Canada announced a $13-million contribution to provide humanitarian assistance to Malians affected by conflict and food insecurity in 2013. This includes $4 million to respond to the specific needs of Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania. Furthermore, an additional $75 million in development assistance was invested to improve stability in Mali by ensuring the provision of basic services in health, food security, nutrition and education. To date, Canada is the third-largest humanitarian assistance country donor to Mali.
Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
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