Canada to Resettle 1300 Syrian Refugees
Syrian conflict escalates and Canada pledges support.
By: Rebecca Ferguson, Staff Writer
Canada will be welcoming 1300 Syrian refugees over the next two years. Jason Kenney, the federal immigration minister, announced these plans in Edmonton at the start of the month.
The government will immediately resettle 200 people who have been deemed extremely urgent cases by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. However, it will be up to private sponsors to take the remaining 1100 refugees by the end of next year.
Since the Syrian Civil War broke out in March 2011 an estimated 2 million people have been displaced from their homes. Most of these refugees have been absorbed by neighboring countries such as Lebanon and Jordan. However, the lives that await them there are not pleasant. “A lot of people leave the camps in Jordan,” said Faisal al Azem, a spokesman for the Syrian Canadian Council, “They go back to Syria and go back to death”.
[pullquote]2 million people have been displaced from their homes.[/pullquote]
Care Canada announced that 77 percent of those who have fled Syria are living in cities where they do not have access to work or the ability to earn a living, and World Vision has said that about half of the Syrians forced to leave their country are children.
Kenney stated that the Canadian government is committed to the United Nation’s goal of finding a long-term solution for the refugees in Syria. However, he admitted that the idea of developed nations accepting millions of Syrian refugees is just not practical.
“This tradition of refugee protection represents what is best about Canada,” he stated, “We are ready to respond immediately from the call from the United Nations to resettle a limited number of Syrian refugees who have been identified as most in need of urgent protection”.
[pullquote]“This tradition of refugee protection represents what is best about Canada,”[/pullquote]
It is important to note that the 1100 privately sponsored spaces are above the existing cap in place for that program and will not bump applicants from other countries.
The Canadian government will also provide $2.3 million over two years to strengthen the UN’s global resettlement capacity, including deploying five specialists to assist with resettling the displaced Syrians in Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.
Since January 2012, Canada has pledged more that $150 million in aid for Syria and the surrounding region.
Rebecca Ferguson is a Political Science & English student from Carleton University. She has experience covering many fields including lifestyle, local and international news. However, she is most passionate about reporting on human interest stories. Check out her LinkedIn and Twitter pages.