Feds give UN $100 mil­lion for Syr­ian refugee re­lief

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA -

The Lib­eral gov­ern­ment has an­nounced its long-awaited $100 mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion to the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees to help flee­ing Syr­i­ans, ful­fill­ing a cam­paign prom­ise from the fed­eral elec­tion.

The con­tri­bu­tion in­cludes $10 mil­lion for the UN refugee agency as part of the pro­gram to re­set­tle thou­sands of Syr­ian refugees in Canada over the next few months.

In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Marie-Claude Bibeau said the gov­ern­ment will move quickly to dis­burse the funds.

“Our of­fi­cials are in con­stant dis­cus­sions with UNHCR and we will make sure that they will get the money as soon as they need it,” she said. “It will be a quick release.” The gov­ern­ment also an­nounced it is hon­our­ing a com­mit­ment made by the pre- vi­ous Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment to match do­na­tions by Cana­di­ans to the in­ter­na­tional re­lief ef­forts. Cana­di­ans have un­til Dec. 31 to make do­na­tions, which will be matched to a ceil­ing of $100 mil­lion, of­fi­cials said.

UN staff in Jor­dan, Le­banon and Tur­key are cur­rently work­ing over­time and on week­ends to help se­lect the 15,000 Syr­i­ans who will be brought to Canada by the end of Fe­bru­ary di­rectly by the gov­ern­ment.

The gov­ern­ment is also giv­ing the UN in those coun­tries, as well as in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Europe, money to help deal more broadly with the ef­fect of the refugee cri­sis in those coun­tries.

“We know that Syr­ian refugees are cut­ting on meals, tak­ing on debt to meet their ba­sic daily needs and risk­ing their lives to leave Syria,” said Bibeau.

“This fund­ing to UNHCR will help to make th­ese de­ci­sions a lit­tle less dif­fi­cult by help­ing to meet ba­sic needs.”

Thurs­day’s an­nounce­ment brings to $969 mil­lion the to­tal amount of hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance from Canada in re­sponse to the Syr­ian cri­sis, which has forced four mil­lion peo­ple to leave the coun­try.

CP PHOTO

In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Marie-Claude Bibeau holds a news con­fer­ence to an­nounce $100 mil­lion in hu­man­i­tar­ian fund­ing to the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugess to help re­spond to needs in shel­ter, pro­tec­tion and health for refugees...

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