Halifax refugee walk returns amid record number of displaced people

The Walk with Refugees in Halifax follows World Refugee Day, which was marked on June 20. (Luke Ettinger/CBC - image credit)

A sea of yellow shirts and signs celebrated refugees in Halifax on Sunday.

The Walk with Refugees, organized by the Halifax Immigration Partnership, began in the city in 2015. Following a pandemic hiatus, the event returned this year amid a record number of people displaced globally, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

"We felt it was important to bring back this event and create space for communities to come together to celebrate [those] who have arrived in Canada as refugees," said Ariane Savi with the Halifax Immigration Partnership.

Other groups that support newcomers to the province helped plan the event.

Ethiopian refugee Fekadu Abera, who spoke at the event, said Care for Refugees helped him find employment in the tourism and hospitality sector. He said with proper support, there is hope for refugees.

"It was clear that being a refugee is just a title that will not hinder someone from achieving their maximum in their lifetime," he said.

Abera said the event was an opportunity for refugees of all backgrounds to come together.

Afghanistan refugee Asif Sadi said he was forced to flee to Pakistan due to his work with the Canadian Armed Forces. He arrived in Nova Scotia with his wife and children just three months ago.

"We're having a very good life here," Sadi said.

Thousands of Afghan refugees have arrived in Canada fleeing the Taliban, but more people, including Sadi's parents, are still waiting.

This month, the United Nations refugee agency said 117.3 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of last year, and that number would continue to increase without major geopolitical changes.