Speaker of the House Geoff Regan taking part in virtual reality refugee experience

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

On March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, unions are on Parliament Hill with a unique experience that will let Members of Parliament and their staff see through the eyes of a refugee.

“Refugee Crisis” is an immersive virtual reality experience that simulates the harsh reality of being forced to flee one’s home as a refugee; but in this case, it’s as if it were happening here in Canada. The experience is an important component of unions’ ongoing work to support refugee resettlement efforts by building empathy and solidarity.  

“Unions believe we must respect the rights of all people, regardless of race, religion, immigration status or country of origin. We recognize that we all ultimately benefit from the ways immigrants and refugees contribute to and enrich our society,” Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff said.

Yussuff added this work has become even more urgent in the current context. He pointed out last week’s apology by the federal government to three Muslim Canadians who were tortured in Syria.

“We must acknowledge the global context today is very similar to the post 9/11 era when this took place. We see the same xenophobia and Islamophobia being promoted by some Conservative leadership candidates, some European leaders and of course, current President Donald Trump,” said Yussuff.

Earlier this year the CLC joined with the AFL-CIO to denounce Donald Trump’s attempted anti-Muslim travel ban. The CLC also called for Canada to increase refugee resettlement targets and withdraw from the Safe Third Country Agreement.

Canada’s unions are also continuing to urge government to repeal the flawed, so-called “anti-terror” bill C-51, which risks encouraging racial profiling, particularly in Muslim communities.

“Canada can do more, and so can we all as individual Canadians, to welcome immigrants and refugees and stand firmly against xenophobia and Islamophobia,” Yussuff added.

You can experience “Refugee Crisis” in 360 video on YouTube or Facebook.