Canadian Association for Refugees in Africa (CARA) is a humanitarian relief organization with headquarters in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. CARA’s mandate is to create awareness in Canada about the rights and plight of refugees in Africa, and to mobilize relevant tools as well as resources to empower these refugees for poverty alleviation.
Refugees are persons fleeing from conflict, wars or persecution in their country of origin. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons (IDPs) has reached its highest point since World War 2, with over 60 million persons, including women and children. Over 20 million of these populations are in Sub-Sahara Africa.
CARA was founded in December 2018 by a group of human rights defenders as a response to the systematic lack of news and media coverage in Canada about the huge refugee challenges in Africa and its consequences on global migration and international development cooperation.
Incorporated under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (NFP Act), CARA intends to work towards bridging the media gap in Canada with regards to the lack of adequate, balanced and credible information and knowledge about the challenges facing the millions of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Africa. The essence is to re- awaken the consciences of, and to mobilize renewed support from the Canadian population in their traditional role as defenders of the rights of these persons as enshrined in International law to which Canada is a Signatory.
Figures from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) show that Sub-Saharan Africa alone hosts more than 26% of the world’s refugee population. The number continues to soar partly due to ongoing crises in Nigeria, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Burundi, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Mali. In the year 2018, some 24.2 million people in Africa were forced to flee as a result of conflict, persecution, food insecurity due to climate change and other forms of human rights abuses.
Finding solutions to refugee crises in Africa has always been a herculean task. Apart from dwindling resources, access to risk zones for urgent humanitarian assistance remains a major challenge. Finally, within the last few years , most Western donors and partners in international humanitarian assistance have shifted to the crises in Syria, and the Rhoyinga in Bangladesh as well as other natural disasters worldwide thus making the refugee crises in Africa as being ‘abandoned’. Yet, Africa hosts the largest number of displaced persons in the world.
Africa has literally been left to fend for herself and the situation is getting worse with the lack of political will on the leadership, bad governance and the non-respect of country obligations under International law.
CARA therefore intends to work with the Canadian public in order to reverse the trend of their strategic programs in favor of international humanitarian assistance for refugees in Africa for poverty reduction in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
CARA’s Mission is to provide comprehensive humanitarian relief to refugees in Africa and to empower them through resource mobilization and partnerships for poverty alleviation in their communities.
CARA envisions an African continent in which every displaced person is empowered to live a productive, autonomous and fulfilled life in dignity and peace.
CARA is committed to its bye-laws and ideals, engages in teamwork to achieve its set objectives, and renders her services with selflessness, in a spirit of non-discrimination as to sex, age, color, religion or race, and finally, with care for her beneficiaries. All these are embedded in the CARA’s Code of Conduct which regulates the standard of operations and ethical bench mark for her membership, staff and main stakeholders.