Ruth Chiu is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at McMaster University
From 1975 to 1980, over two million Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian refugees fled from Communist states to refugee camps across Asia and became known internationally as ‘Boat People.’1,2 In response to this crisis and under significant public pressure, the Canadian government accepted 60 000 Southeast Asians as government-assisted and privately sponsored refugees between 1979 and 1980.3
The exodus of Southeast Asian refugees was by no means the first of its kind in history. However, Canada’s response to this refugee crisis was unique in its magnitude from both a national and international perspective. Political drivers, such as the adoption of the more inclusive Immigration Act of 1976 and the recent election of Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Joe Clark after 16 years of Liberal rule, contributed to the unprecedented settlement of Southeast Asian refugees in Canada.4,5 Public interest in the crisis, heavily piqued by international news media, allowed for the success of the newly formalized private sponsorship program which supported two-thirds of the Boat People who settled in Canada.6,7...continue reading →
Sondos Zayed is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at McGill University
Raised in an impoverished household, Ms. K was married off at a young age to a man decades her senior. As the years passed, the abuse her husband inflicted upon her escalated until she began fearing for her life. She spent years saving money and meticulously planning her escape, though her departure also meant abandoning her family to the mercy of her husband’s wrath. She eventually sought refuge in Québec, Canada.
With no real proof of identity, she was imprisoned for months upon arrival. Once released, with neither connections nor funds, she was directed to the YMCA Residence (which in 2010 had come to an agreement with the ...continue reading →
Mandi Irwin is a family physician at the Nova Scotia Health Authority's Newcomer Health Clinic, in Halifax, NS
Elizabeth Munn is a medical student at Dalhousie University
Hamid Abdihalim is a medical student at Dalhousie University
Matthew Ta is a medical student at Dalhousie University
Human displacement as a consequence of war, natural disaster, civil conflict or political instability is not a new problem. The ongoing war in Syria has brought this issue into mainstream view recently. This and other protracted and escalating conflicts have resulted in the displacement of over 22.5 million refugees globally, as estimated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In 2016 alone, almost 190,000 refugees were resettled in new countries around the world. This includes resettlement in Canada, which has welcomed over 25,000 refugees from Syria .
We often fail to appreciate that once refugees arrive in their countries of resettlement, they face substantial challenges ...continue reading →
David Benrimoh is a fourth year medical student at McGill University
Dr. Cécile Rousseau is a professorof psychiatry at McGill University, working with refugee and immigrant children
The Syrian Civil War has become the greatest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, creating over 4 million refugees. These refugees have, in large part, taken up precarious temporary residence in countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon. They are unlikely to find permanent residence there because of local integration policies, and so are left to either wait until the conflict in their homeland is resolved, or to apply to attempt to resettle in another country. It must be understood that those living in refugee camps face difficult conditions: sexual violence, trafficking of women and children, and lack of access to healthcare and education.
Because of poor conditions and limited opportunities in camps, many refugees try and make the move to another country. We have all seen reports of refugees drowning by the hundreds while trying to cross the Mediterranean, and the EU has been paralyzed by indecision with respect to who should take how many refugees. Canada has committed to taking in 10,000 refugees by year’s end ...continue reading →
Some 800,000 migrants from Africa and the Middle East have made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe this year. Many suffer from untreated injuries and medical conditions, and more than 3,000 have died or gone missing at sea.
In this podcast, CMAJ News reporter Lauren Vogel interviews Dr. Simon Bryant, an Alberta physician who experienced the crisis first-hand volunteering on a Médecins Sans Frontières search-and-rescue ship.