Helping to Protect the World’s Most Vulnerable
Canada announces next phase of response to crises in Syria, Iraq and the broader region
January 7, 2015 – Toronto , Ontario – Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, and Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced increased support for conflict-affected Syrians and Iraqis. Minister Paradis announced additional humanitarian assistance to respond to the immediate needs of those displaced in the region, and Minister Alexander announced that Canada will welcome an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees and 3,000 Iraqi refugees.
The humanitarian situation facing displaced Syrians and Iraqis continues to deteriorate, with millions of people affected.
Canada will increase its humanitarian assistance to help provide conflict-affected people with shelter, clothes, food, emergency health care, and protection services, including from sexual and gender-based violence. This funding will help people affected by the Syrian crisis inside Syria and in other areas of the region, including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. It will also assist those affected by the ongoing crisis in Iraq.
Minister Paradis also announced a project in Iraq supported through the Religious Freedom Fund out of the Office of Religious Freedom. The project partners with the non-governmental organization Minority Rights Group International, and is focused on international advocacy and capacity building through training, publishing and helping minorities gain access to vital services.
Further to the current response to these crises, Canada will build on its existing and world-leading commitments to resettle Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
Minister Alexander highlighted that the government has surpassed a 2009 commitment to resettle 20,000 Iraqi refugees ahead of schedule. He also noted that since July 2013 more than 1,285 Syrian refugees have been approved for resettlement in Canada and more than 1,075 of those had already arrived by January 5, 2015. More than 2,480 Syrians have been granted protection in Canada through the asylum and resettlement programs since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
Today’s commitment of 10,000 additional Syrian refugees will mean Canada is fulfilling 10 percent of the latest appeal from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to resettle 100,000 Syrian refugees worldwide. Syrian refugees will be resettled in Canada over the next three years, while the additional Iraqi refugees are expected to arrive by the end of 2015.
Additionally , members of the Canadian Armed Forces continue their commendable efforts as part of the international coalition against the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). ISIL’s barbaric actions and murderous rampage have only heightened the risks faced by Syrian and Iraqi civilians.
- To date, Canada has committed more than $680 million in assistance to the Syria crisis, including $403.5 million in humanitarian assistance, $210.7 million in development assistance to Jordan and the region, and $67.7 million in security-related regional assistance.
- Canada is a top tier humanitarian donor to the Iraq crisis and has committed a total of $67.4 million in humanitarian assistance in response to this crisis since the beginning of 2014.
- In June 2014, Iraq was added to the list of Canada’s development-country partners.
- Canada is providing protection to more than 35,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
“Canada remains committed to addressing the most critical needs of the millions of innocent people affected by conflict in the region and will continue to be at the forefront of providing them with lifesaving assistance.
“Attacks on Muslims, Christians or members of any other religious community seeking to practice their faith in peace and security are completely unacceptable. Canada has made the protection of religious communities and the promotion of pluralism a foreign policy priority, and we will continue to be an outspoken ally of freedom around the world.”
- Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie
“Our commitment to resettle additional Syrian and Iraqi refugees builds on Canada’s leadership and generosity when it comes to assisting the world’s most vulnerable populations. Our government has answered the call and taken action to resettle vulnerable individuals who have been displaced due to violence and conflict in the region. Because of our commitments, more vulnerable Syrian and Iraqi refugees will benefit from Canada’s protection in short order. We do this not only because we can, but because it is right and just.”
- Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration