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In order to draw public attention to the challenges facing refugees worlwide, some local refugee-service organizations are making World Refugee Day with a free, public event at the Vancouver Public Library- Central Branch, on Friday, June 18, from 11 am to 3 pm.
Participating groups include Amnesty International, Canadian Red Cross, Rainbow Refugee Committee, Settlement Orientation Services, and UNHCR.
Through a diverse range of events and activities, the public will gain an insight into what it means to be a refugee and the challenges they face when seeking asylum and adjusting to life in a new country.
The day begins with the presentation of a series of short films that describe the reasons people flee their home countries and showcase some of the organizations that work to protect refugees.
At 11.45 am words of welcome and civic proclamation by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
Through the afternoon organizers will stage two mock refugee hearings and an interactive refugee panel to help the public understand the refugee claim process in Canada. Musical guests will also contribute to the day's events.
The day closes with a film ( Gloriously Free) and discussion from 2 to 3 pm on the difficulties facing gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual refugees coming to Canada.