C/O Jessica Yang
North Korean human rights advocacy group HanVoice is helping refugees resettle in Canada
According to Human Rights Watch, North Korea’s government is among the world’s most repressive, severely limiting the freedoms of its citizens. The North Korean government has been found to have committed numerous crimes against humanity.
HanVoice, founded in 2007, is a Toronto-based organization advocating for North Korean human rights. Originally founded by three law students invested in the North Korean cause, HanVoice has since grown into a nation-wide network of activists.
With over 300 members, HanVoice’s work has been focussed on resettling North Korean refugees in Canada and hosting international human rights training sessions for Canadian students. At McMaster University, HanVoice McMaster is one of HanVoice’s 15 chapters across the country.
“After watching a documentary [about North Korea, the founders] were looking around online for different causes to get involved and they found nothing in Canada so they decided they would start their own,” said Taylor Boss, Co-President of HanVoice McMaster.
Finally, on Oct. 26, HanVoice announced a pilot program allowing Canadians to privately sponsor North Korean refugees.
The program will aim to bring five North Korean families from Thailand, where many North Korean refugees are currently situated, to Canada. The program will specifically target women, who are often victims of gender-based violence.
Emma Baliat, Co-President of HanVoice McMaster, highlighted that Canada will be the third country globally to accept North Korean refugees, after South Korea and the United States. The Canadian program is unique in that it allows Canadians to privately sponsor North Korean families.
Boss added that many Canadians take pride in the country’s willingness to accept refugees but that the North Korean cause has still been ignored and that, in some cases, North Koreans have been deported from Canada.
Baliat and Boss both highlighted that everyone can make a difference, including those in the McMaster community, even if the issue seems inaccessible.
“As we've seen in the McMaster community, a lot of people don't really know what the journey is, or they think that the North Korean refugee issue is something that's impossible to help with. [They think that] North Korea is so far off, [that] there are so many restrictions and there's no way it's a cause that we will be able to contribute to. And so I think that's what hinders people from actually looking to see how they can help,” said Baliat.
Boss added that this perception of North Korea is largely due to media portrayals, which often depict the country as being isolated, removed from the rest of the world and impossible to access or help.
“Every time that [the media portrays] it like that, it really doesn't help anyone because this is an issue that we can be involved with. These are real people and real lives who are managing to escape and they have stories that we want to help share,” said Boss.
HanVoice McMaster has been raising money to contribute to the resettlement of five families in Canada, with a fundraising goal of $2000.
Students at McMaster can help support the North Korean cause by donating to HanVoice McMaster or reach out to HanVoice on their website.
C/O Yoohyun Park
Pizza Pizza becomes the first major sponsorship signing for the Marauders this season
Pizza Pizza has over 500 locations across Canada and has played an important role in the communities that they have served since their foundation date in 1967. The pizza company had more than $458 million in gross sales in 2018, making it the most successful Canadian pizza brand by far.
What exactly does this partnership mean for the Marauders? Would it provide better financial stability to the McMaster sports association? Would it benefit the performance from McMaster athletes in general?
Although there is no concrete answer, it is no secret that for years now, many sports teams at McMaster have pleaded for donations to keep themselves running. Even the men’s soccer team, which has had a very successful season so far, has a donation website. Additionally, there are numerous teams which require their athletes to pay a fee before representing the school.
With that said, it might therefore be expected that this partnership will result in more financial stability for Marauders teams. Although no financial income has been published by the Marauders regarding this partnership, they have promised unique experiences and promotional offers for the members of the Marauders community.
In a statement made by the director of athletics and recreation, Shawn Burt, mentioned that the new partnership with Pizza Pizza will not only benefit student athletes, but also varsity games attendees through engagement opportunities that the pizza giant has to offer.
This new sponsorship deal can turn out to be a big game changer for the Marauders, but what is the student perspective on Canada’s largest pizza company? To find out the answer to the question, a Reddit poll was created by the Silhouette Sports reporters which would help to gather some perspectives from the students.
According to the poll results, most of the McMaster students wouldn’t mind having Pizza Pizza as a sponsor, as there's an even divide between those who like and dislike the pizza giant.
Although the students have their own opinions on the new sponsorship, there is still much to know about what the true benefit of this new deal is. What the McMaster community can hope for though, is a new financial boost for the varsity teams and possibly a better playing experience for the student athletes.