Peter Goodspeed discusses Canadian refugee policy concerning the resettlement of Syrian refugees displaced by civil war (“Canada’s closed door policy for Syrian refugees“, Al Jazeera, 2 November 2014):
Humanitarian groups and refugee activists, had hoped Canadian officials would use the Berlin conference to announce a new, ambitious, programme to resettle 10,000 or more Syrian refugees.
Chris Alexander, Canada’s immigration minister, has suggested he might unveil a large-scale refugee resettlement programme to help Syrians. But, for nine months, he has produced nothing but promises and vague reassurances. He won’t even reveal how many Syrian refugees have arrived in the country as part of Canada’s original commitment to resettle 1,300 refugees.
But Canada, which has a long and distinguished history of protecting and resettling refugees around the world, has resettled only about 200 Syrian refugees, while considering asylum claims from several hundred other individuals who made it to Canada on their own or were already in Canada visiting, when Syria’s war started.
The Canadian government consistently boasts about its “generous refugee system”, saying it welcomes about one in every 10 resettled refugees globally. But in the case of Syria, Ottawa’s resettlement target for 2014 was only half that traditional benchmark. The government also pushed 84 percent of that commitment onto private sponsors without first consulting them and made no administrative provisions to reach the target.
Photo credit: CC BY 2.0 image “Syrian boys” (edited by Ceasefire.ca) by Freedom House on Flickr.