Canada to give asylum to 1,200 primarily Yazidi refugees
The Trudeau government is poised to announce Canada has given safe haven to almost 400 Yazidi refugees and other survivors of Islamist extremists in the last four months and will take in about 800 more by the end of the year.
The initiative is expected to cost $28 million, according to details obtained by The Canadian Press.
In addition to 1,200 government-assisted refugees, the government says it also intends to facilitate private sponsorships of Yazidi refugees.
The announcement comes four months after the House of Commons unanimously supported a Conservative motion that called on the government to provide asylum to an unspecified number of Yazidi women and girls.
The motion recognized that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also called Daesh, is committing genocide against the Yazidi people and holding many of the religious group’s women and girls as sex slaves.
Although the motion referred only to providing asylum to Yazidi women and girls, the 1,200 refugees will include male family members.
In speaking notes prepared for the announcement, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says the government has learned that Daesh also deliberately targets young boys “and, as such, helping to resettle all child survivors of Daesh is vital to this work.”
He also contends that keeping families together will help the refugees adjust to living in Canada and heal from the trauma they’ve suffered.
Although the motion referred strictly to the Yazidi people, the government is not confining its efforts solely to members of that religious group, who live primarily in northern Iraq.
Hussen says Canada has long offered protection to refugees based on “vulnerability, not religion or ethnicity” and will thus focus on “highly vulnerable” survivors of Daesh. Still, he says a “significant majority” of the 1,200 will be Yazidi due to the “high level of violence” they’ve suffered.