A small, symbolic rally in Vancouver returned the spotlight on the ongoing refugee crisis in the Mediterranean.
The group rallied around the idea of making the treacherous journeys faced by refugees safer, and pressuring the government to accept more refugees.
Vancouver was one of the many cities around the world holding rallies.
John Skene, one of the organizers of the rally, is a university student.
He decided to take a break from school and spend his tuition money in going to Greece and helping refugees arriving in the Mediterranean.
“We’re all just normal people that went over there and helped. We were working in camps, everything was donated by people like you and I around the world.”
Skene said not only do the refugees face treacherous conditions to get to safety, they also face hostility from host countries.
“These people are fleeing from the same thing we’re trying to defeat, so place yourselves in their shoes and see how it feels to be persecuted from people around the world.”
“So it’s recognizing that as human beings, we all have rights under the Geneva Convention. After World War II, we wanted to make sure these situations never happened again to people seeking safety, so the best possible solution at this point is safe passage to safety.”
According to the UN, nearly 3,500 migrants perished in the Mediterranean last year.