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Amnesty International Welcomes Federal Government Support of Syrian Refugees

    November 24, 2015

    Amnesty International recognizes that the federal government will identify all 25,000 selected refugees by Dec. 31, 2015, but only 10,000 will arrive by year's end. Now the government is extending its deadline to bring 15,000 more Syrian refugees to Canada by two months, setting the end of February 2016 as its new target date.

    "We welcome the Canadian government’s resettlement goal to seek to identify the most vulnerable refugees, whatever religion, ethnic background, or gender,” said Gloria Nafziger, Refugee Campaigner.

    Amnesty International also welcomes the following procedures will be taken to ensure the health and well-being of refugees:

    • Refugees will include complete families, women at risk, gays and lesbians, and single men identified as vulnerable due to membership in the LGBT community or those who are accompanying parents as part of a family.
    • Refugees will be screened through identity and document verification, biometric and biographic collection and health screening.
    • Full medical exams and security screening will be completed overseas prior to  coming to Canada
    • Applicants must be registered with the UN Refugee Agency or the government of Turkey.
    • Transportation will be largely by privately chartered aircraft with military aircraft assisting if necessary.

      “The government has set itself a huge challenge in its goal to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015 and a further 15,000 by the end of February 2016.  However in the process of resettling refugees it is critical that we do not discriminate against refugees according to their religion, ethnic background, or gender. Single men may also be at risk because of their public profile and work as journalists or human rights defenders.  All vulnerabilities should be considered.

     Refugee resettlement seeks to identify those who are the most vulnerable, and decision making should not stigmatize or discriminate against any population.  These attitudes and resulting actions are themselves the very reason why so many refugees are forced to flee in the first place.”

     “It is noble that resources are being put in place for this large scale resettlement to happen,” Ms. Nafziger said. “This type of leadership from government is needed, and very much welcomed; let’s do it right, taking into consideration all the factors which need to be considered.”

     For further informaiton contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca