Canada to welcome 5,000 refugees from Turkey
AA PhotoCanada will resettle up to 5,000 refugees currently in Turkey by 2018, the country’s Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has announced during his visit to Turkey.
“With escalating violence in the region, more people are seeking protection in Turkey, and our commitment to resettle 5,000 mostly Iraqi and Iranian refugees in Canada will help Turkey deal with this growing pressure,” Kenney said Jan. 15.
His announcement came after his visit to the Islahiye refugee camp in Gaziantep and the Öncüpınar refugee camp in Kilis which have been hosting Syrians who have fled violence in their homeland. “We recognize that sheltering such an immense refugee population creates pressures on domestic resources and we commend the government of Turkey for keeping her borders open to those fleeing the ongoing conflict in the region,” Kenney also said. Canada’s acceptance of Iranian and Iraqi refugees will help ease the overall burden on Turkey, freeing up resources for the current influx of Syrian persons seeking protection in the country, a statement by the Canadian Embassy in Ankara noted. Canada will continue to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help the UNHCR address the needs of refugees and other vulnerable persons in Turkey, the statement said.
Canada is one of only a few countries to operate a resettlement program out of Turkey, and only the United States takes more refugees. The majority of these refugees will be referred by the UNHCR for resettlement to Canada.
“Canada has long been a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution, and we are proud to continue this tradition today,” Kenney said. “To date, some 12,000 Iraqi refugees have been resettled in Canada, mostly out of Syria. Canada remains committed to its 2009 and 2010 pledges to resettle up to 20,000 Iraqi refugees in need of protection. Today’s commitment will help bring us closer to that goal and will also mark the first time we make a specific multi-year commitment to resettling refugees out of Turkey.”