February 27, 2016 5:38 pm
Updated: February 27, 2016 10:55 pm

Rally held in Vancouver to demand safe passage for refugees

WATCH: Canada has just welcomed its 25,000th Syrian refugee today. And the push to provide safe passage for those seeking asylum got another nudge today, with a re-enactment of the dangerous journey in the waters off Vancouver this morning. Rumina Daya explains.

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A small group of demonstrators crossed English Bay in a raft Saturday, a symbolic gesture that hardly compares to the desperate journey many Syrian refugees face.

Vancouver’s Safe Passage event — one of more than 100 held worldwide on Saturday — aims to raise awareness and pressure the government to do more to help refugees who are fleeing civil war.

Laurie Cooper volunteered her time to help Syrian refugees in Greece.

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READ: Global Okanagan’s Neetu Garcha with a first-hand account of the refugee crisis from Lesbos, Greece

“They were people very much like us, very well-educated,” she said. “They just had nothing to go back to. They showed me pictures of their apartments before and then after being bombed. They had nothing.”

Thousands of migrants try to make their way to the shores of Europe each day. Many never make it. Nearly 4,000 people died last year, many of them children, including three-year-old Alan Kurdi, whose family hoped to settle in Coquitlam.

READ MORE: 2 alleged human smugglers on trial over Alan Kurdi’s death

John Skene, who also travelled to Greece to help with the migrant crisis, says the Trudeau government’s plan to bring in 25,000 refugees to Canada doesn’t go far enough.

“Twenty-five thousand doesn’t really hit it,” he said. “We’re talking about millions of people who are displaced and have turned into refugees.”

Skene firmly believes that every Canadian is obligated to do something. For his part, he is putting his studies on hold and spending $8,000 of his own money to head back to Greece to help.

– With files from Rumina Daya

© 2016 Shaw Media

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