CALGARY, June 20, 2013 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada has resettled almost 16,000 refugees to date and is on track to meet its commitment of resettling 20,000 Iraqis by 2015, Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced today on World Refugee Day. This represents the largest single commitment to resettle a refugee population in over 25 years.
To mark World Refugee Day, Minister Kenney will also participate in a roundtable with refugees hosted by the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary tonight.
"Canada has a long humanitarian tradition of providing protection to those truly in need and we welcome one in ten resettled refugees, more than almost any other country in the world," said Minister Kenney. "On World Refugee Day, we should be proud of Canada's major contributions to global efforts to resettle vulnerable refugee populations, and also recognize the efforts of countless organizations and individuals in Canada who help refugees to Canada settle, integrate and succeed in their new home."
Canada works closely with private sponsors, other countries and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to find viable long-term solutions to help refugees around the world. Canada already has one of the most generous resettlement programs in the world and the government is working to increase the total number of refugees and other individuals in vulnerable circumstances that we resettle each year. The Government of Canada has already increased resettlement assistance by 20 percent.
By 2018, Canada will also resettle up to 5,000 mostly Iranian and Iraqi refugees currently in Turkey by 2018. This effort will help Turkey deal with growing pressures as a result of escalating violence in the region.
In addition, Canada also recently committed to resettling up to 1,000 more Bhutanese refugees over the next two years, many of whom already have family ties here. In total, Canada will resettle up to 6,500 Bhutanese refugees who had been living for nearly two decades in refugee camps in Nepal. More than 5,000 Bhutanese refugees have already arrived in Canada.
Canada's new asylum system, which came into force on December 15, 2012, has been implemented successfully and is already exceeding expectations.
"Under our new asylum system, genuine refugees fleeing persecution will receive protection more quickly—in a matter of months, not years," said Minister Kenney. "At the same time, by removing unfounded failed asylum claimants faster, we are ensuring that Canadians will continue to have faith in our asylum system and support our important humanitarian efforts."
Minister of International Cooperation Julian Fantino also made an important announcement regarding humanitarian assistance for refugees today. The Government of Canada is investing $5 million over one year to provide refugees in Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda with three innovative technologies: streetlights, lanterns, and fuel-efficient stoves. This investment seeks to make refugee camps safer at night, especially for women and girls, who are more vulnerable to sexual violence.
For more information on Canada's refugee programs, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website at cic.gc.ca.
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Photos of Minister Kenney available at: www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/photos/high-res/index.asp.
Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada's economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.
SOURCE: Citizenship and Immigration Canada
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