No discrimination against Syrian refugees, UN urges
UNITED NATIONS - Agence France-PresseThe United Nations took aim on Nov. 23 at politicians who want to end the resettlement of Syrian refugees following the Paris attacks, saying the “rhetoric” showed disrespect and that there can be no discrimination.
Right-wing politicians in the U.S. and Europe have argued that Syrians must be denied entry out of fear that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters could use asylum as a cover to enter the country and stage attacks.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to ban Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the United States until tougher screening measures are in place.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric described the appeals as “elevated rhetoric... an increase in language where people talk about discrimination and, I think, disrespect for refugees and migrants who have sometimes spent decades in camps and are fleeing horrendous conditions of violence.”
“What is clear is that there can be no discrimination on the basis of religion, ethnicity or any other factor when it comes to resettlement of refugees,” he added.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR has set up a vetting process to ensure that host countries have all required information about the future resident’s background.
“The whole process of resettlement of refugees is a partnership,” Dujarric stressed.
On the same day with the UN announcement, Canada said it would accept only whole families, lone women or children in its mass resettlement of Syrian refugees while unaccompanied men, which are considered a security risk, will be turned away.
Since the Paris attacks launched by Syria-linked jihadists, a plan by new leader Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to fast-track the intake of 25,000 refugees by year’s end has faced growing criticism in Canada.
Details of the plan would be announced further in the day on Nov. 24 but Canada’s ambassador to Jordan confirmed that refugees from camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey will be flown to Canada from Jordan starting December 1.
Speaking in Jordan on Nov. 23, the ambassador Bruno Saccomani said the operation would cost an estimated Can$1.2 billion, the official Petra news agency reported.