From 1993 to 1995, Canada hosted 500 of the 500,000 refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina registered by the United Nations High Commissioner.
Every June 20, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) invites us to reflect on the fate of people displaced by conflict or disaster. Since the year 2022 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the siege of Sarajevo, we invite you to follow, thanks to our archives, the journey of Bosnians who were able to flee the civil war and take refuge in Canada.
It was on April 5, 1992 that war fell on Sarajevo when the Serbian army – which opposed the break-up of Yugoslavia – began a blockade against the capital of newly independent Bosnia and Herzegovina. /p>
Orthodox Serbs, Bosnian Muslims and Catholic Croats all lived there together in apparent harmony until then. This civil war which divides them will stretch over four long years.
Report by Marc-André Masson on the arrival of the first Bosnian refugees in Canada. The news bulletin is presented by Dominique Poirier.
The first Bosnian refugees arrived in Canada in January 1993, as evidenced by this report in the news bulletin Édition magazinemoderated by Dominique Poirier. Canada must welcome 500 of the 500,000 refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina identified by the United Nations High Commissioner, explains the host.
Journalist Marc-André Masson goes to meet of the first 50 Bosnian refugees to land at Winnipeg Airport on January 17, 1993. They arrived from the United Nations camp in Karlovac, Croatia, where they had been living since their release from Serbian detention centers. Their spouses, their parents, their families were killed, says the journalist.
Muhiba Ceric has no news of her husband, an intellectual captured by the Serbs. She had to flee her village with her children: she could no longer work there or receive treatment there, because she is a Muslim.
Marc-André Masson also talks to two men who were interned for seven months in a prison camp. They know little about Canada and are ready to accept any job to start their lives over, says the journalist.
They will be able to count on help and experience of Bosnians already settled in Canada – particularly since the Second World War – who came in large numbers to welcome them at the airport.
Report by Denis Guénette on the arrival of the first Bosnian refugees in Quebec. The news bulletin is presented by Michèle Viroly.
On January 23, 1993, it was Quebec's turn to receive a first group of Bosnian refugees, made up of about ten families and a few celibates who were driven from their homes and held in camps.
The Minister of Cultural Communities and Immigration, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, comes to greet them at the Quebec airport, as shown in this report by Denis Guénette on Téléjournal, hosted by Michèle Viroly .
The government is counting a lot on the collaboration of the population to welcome these refugees who, from the end of February, will begin French courses and seek to integrate into the market. work, explains the journalist. The multiethnic center of Quebec will first accommodate them and then help them move into their own accommodation within two weeks.
Although happy with this welcome, the refugees interviewed by the journalist want above all to find a job and to be able to start taking care of themselves.
Journalist Alain Gravel and director Peter Ingles present the portrait of a Bosnian refugee living in Montreal who wonders if she will return to live in her country of origin.
On the show Issues of November 6, 2001, Alain Gravel and Peter Ingles present the journey of Seana Pasic, a Bosnian refugee who has been living in Montreal for five years.
Seana was eleven years old when war broke out in Bosnia. Her lighter years were stolen from her, she who lived in a very exposed area of Sarajevo. She remembers the constant fear that tormented her, the life that had stopped and the thin instinct for survival that remained. At a certain point, hope had faded. I just wanted to be dead before my parents, she confides to journalist Alain Gravel.
The first thing I did when I got here was forget, says Seana, who works at Café Sarajevo, where she sings tunes her father used to hum to her. To the journalist, she shows her diary, in which are compiled all her memories as a child of the war.
Seana no longer wants to ignore a part of herself . She feels an urgent need to return to her home country, perhaps to stay there. The Enjeux team follows her to Sarajevo which, even six years after the conflict was settled, still bears shell wounds.
Life remains difficult in Sarajevo, observes Seana, who reunites with friends with whom she shared the dangers of war. They talk to him about their future and their prospects, which are very bleak. 60% of young people would leave if they could, she explains to the journalist.
She also meets children cared for by humanitarian organizations to help them overcome their traumas. I rested for five years, says Seana. They never stopped. There is always a fight.
Seana dreamed of returning to live in Sarajevo among her family, but she chose instead to return to Montreal, freed from the weight of this inner conflict that darkened her youth. It reassures me, it strengthens me to be able to continue my life, she expresses to the journalist of Enjeux who followed her in her approach.
Report by Guylaine Bussière on two Bosnian refugees who became teachers at the school which welcomed them in a reception class. The newscast is presented by Brigitte Bougie.
Then there is this other shining example of integration presented by host Brigitte Bougie on the newscast Le National dated November 13, 2007.
In 1995, dozens of young Bosnians entered a reception class at Rochebelle high school in Quebec. Their challenge was to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture.
Thirteen years later, two of these refugees are teaching at the same school, reports the journalist Guylaine Bussiere. Oksana Havreljuk, 26, teaches math and science, and Neda Marincic, 25, teaches English as a second language.
“It is a school that is very important to me. I already have a very good experience here, so it's sure that for me, it's like a little bit of a dream to work here. »
— Oksana Havreljuk
I arrived on March 30, 1995 in the reception class, testifies Neda Marincic. I didn't speak a word of French or English, and now I teach English as a second language here at school. This pride is shared by the teachers who have welcomed them and seen them progress over the years.
The Rochebelle school has been receiving young immigrants or refugees in integration classes since the early 1980s, explains the journalist. In 2007, about sixty students of 21 nationalities and 12 different languages devoted themselves to learning French.
It's a wonderful concept that I' ;adore and which has been very useful for my own development, expresses Neda Marincic, who now represents a source of inspiration for the students of the Rochebelle school.
In addition :
Fleeing war and oppression: the case of Vietnamese refugees
Chilean refugees putting down roots in Canada
After suffering the war in Ukraine, refugees settle in Quebec
Syrian Refugees: The Challenges of Integration
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