There are times when it is important to restate your commitment to human rights, to take a stand against discrimination and to publicly reject intolerance in all its forms. Now is such a time.

We work directly with children and families forced from their homes by war. Indeed, many of our staff are from those same displaced communities. We have listened to the stories of mothers and fathers’ desperate journeys in search of sanctuary. We have been inspired by their courage and resilience. They have often seen things that even our worst nightmares cannot conjure up. But they are not seeking out charity or pity. They are looking for a safe place to stay, an education for their children and a way of supporting themselves and their families before they are able to return to their homes. It is our responsibility as fellow human beings to treat them with dignity and respond with generosity.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” This does not change when a person is forced from their home. They take their rights with them and they must be respected. An attack on one person’s rights is an attack on us all.

There is a tide of anti-refugee sentiment rising across much of the developed world. It must be resisted. The international community has a responsibility – both moral and legal – to offer a safe haven to those fleeing violence and disaster. If we cannot do that, if our empathy fails when confronted by the homeless and tempest-tossed, then it is our common humanity that is put at risk.

War Child Canada stands with refugees everywhere, now and always. We ask that those in power do the same.

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