UNHCR Welcomes Canadian Response to Iraqi Displacement Crisis



    OTTAWA, April 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today
welcomed Canada's response to address the staggering humanitarian needs of
refugees and internally displaced persons inside Iraq.
    "Canada's generous contribution of $2.5 million in response to our Iraqi
appeal earlier this year will help support our protection and assistance
activities aimed specifically at the most needy Iraqis in neighbouring
countries and those displaced within Iraq, said Jahanshah Assadi, UNHCR
Representative in Canada.
    In addition to the contribution and consistent with Canada's longstanding
humanitarian tradition of offering protection and solutions to refugees, the
Canadian Government announced that it would accept a further 500 referrals of
Iraqi refugees in 2007 in addition to its previous commitment to resettle up
to 900 Iraqis this year. This means that altogether Canada will accept up to
1,400 Iraqis in 2007.
    "The UNHCR has always been able to count on Canada's response to the
urgent resettlement needs of refugees, and this announcement is tangible proof
of Canada's commitment to provide protection to the most vulnerable Iraqi
refugees," said Jahanshah Assadi, UNHCR Representative in Canada.
    Among the key outcomes of UNHCR's two-day international conference on the
humanitarian needs of nearly 4 million Iraqi refugees and displaced people
were:

    
       - Iraqi Government's commitment with an initial allocation of
         US$25 million to take the lead in addressing the needs and improving
         the conditions of all Iraqi people who are internally and externally
         displaced;

       - Commitment by all host countries, including those further afield,
         to continue providing protection, humanitarian assistance and
         hospitality to Iraqis until such time as conditions have been
         created to enable voluntary return in safety and dignity;

       - Recognition that international community has an obligation to
         protect and assist Iraqis in need in accordance with the principles
         of international refugee and humanitarian law, and to help host
         countries to shoulder their burden;

       - Agreement to ensure the protection of Palestinian refugees within
         Iraq, and the need for solutions to be found for their plight.
    




For further information:

For further information: Nanda Na Champassak, (613) 232-0909 ext. 236,
champass@unhcr.org

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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

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