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.

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