Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate in this August 11, 2014.

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate in this August 11, 2014.
Photo Credit: Rodi Said / Reuters

Canada to resettle 1,200 Yazidi refugees

Share

Canada will resettle 1,200 survivors of the ISIS campaign to target religious minorities in northern Iraq, Canadian officials announced Tuesday.

The government will particularly focus its attention on vulnerable members of the Yazidi ethnic and religious minority, officials said during a press conference in Ottawa.

“Our government is committed to offering protection to survivors of Daesh, and we are committed to taking the necessary time to do this right,” Canada’s Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told reporters in Ottawa, referring to the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

“We’ve always had a tradition of offering protection on the basis of vulnerability, not religion or ethnicity, as such our response is focusing on all survivors of Daesh, having said that Yazidi people constitute the vast majority of the people that will be resettled as result of this initiative,” he added.

(click to listen to the full announcement by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen)

Listen

Hussen said asylum will be offered not only to women and girls but also to boys who were victimized by Islamic State.

“As such we’re helping to resettle all child survivors of Daesh and that is vital to our work,” Hussen said.

400 refugees to have arrived by Wednesday
A displaced Iraqi woman from the Yazidi community, who fled violence between Islamic State (IS) group jihadists and Peshmerga fighters in the northern town of Sinjar, stands at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) in the Sharia area, some 15 kilometres from the city of Dohuk, on November 17, 2016.
A displaced Iraqi woman from the Yazidi community, who fled violence between Islamic State (IS) group jihadists and Peshmerga fighters in the northern town of Sinjar, stands at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) in the Sharia area, some 15 kilometres from the city of Dohuk, on November 17, 2016. © SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Image

Hussen, a former Somali refugee, said it is expected that nearly 400 government-assisted refugees will arrive by Wednesday, which is 120 days from the date the House of Commons passed a unanimous motion calling on the government to bring in vulnerable Yazidi refugees.

The motion recognized that the so-called Islamic State is committing genocide against the Yazidi people and holding many of the religious group’s women and girls as sex slaves.

The effort, unlike a much-publicized effort to resettle Syrian refugees, is being conducted in secrecy to protect the privacy of the resettled refugees as well as security concerns for Canadian officials working in northern Iraq.

Canadian officials have worked in close collaboration with the Iraqi government, the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations refugee agency, and Yazda, an international NGO working to help Yazidi survivors of ISIS atrocities, Hussen said.

Canada also learned key lessons from a German campaign to resettle more than 1,000 vulnerable Yazidi refugees to southwestern Germany, he said.

“Our operation is underway and individual survivors of Daesh have been arriving in Canada for resettlement in the last number of months and this began on October 25th, 2016,” Hussen said.

The government is doing everything it can to keep families together, Hussen said.

Dangerous work ahead
 Iraqi Kurdish female fighter Haseba Nauzad (2nd R), 24, and Yazidi female fighter Asema Dahir (3rd R), 21, aim their weapon during a deployment near the frontline of the fight against Islamic State militants in Nawaran near Mosul, Iraq, April 20, 2016.
Iraqi Kurdish female fighter Haseba Nauzad (2nd R), 24, and Yazidi female fighter Asema Dahir (3rd R), 21, aim their weapon during a deployment near the frontline of the fight against Islamic State militants in Nawaran near Mosul, Iraq, April 20, 2016. © Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters

The remaining 800 Yazidi survivors will be resettled from inside Iraq.

“We know from the German experience that this involves working in an extremely volatile and dangerous environment,” Hussen said. “So the security and safety of our personnel, as well as the survivors of the Daesh themselves are of paramount importance to us and have been taken into consideration in the formulation of our plan and also in the implementation.”

All the individuals that are being resettled in Canada have been carefully and meticulously screened by highly-trained Canadian officials and underwent medical, criminal and security checks, Hussen said.

Survivors are coming to Canada on commercial flights at a controlled pace so they don’t overwhelm the resources of support and settlement services, he said.

Many of the new arrivals have experienced “unimaginable trauma” and many will have unique physical, psychological and social needs such as trauma counselling, he said.

“We expect the survivors of Daesh to have even greater needs than the regular refugees who come to Canada, and that is what the German officials that we’ve dealt with have informed us,” Hussen said.

Protecting privacy of ISIS victims
Yazidi sisters, who escaped from captivity by Islamic State (IS) militants, sit in a tent at Sharya refugee camp on the outskirts of Duhok province July 3, 2015. The sisters were among one hundred women, men and children taken by IS as prisoners after the militants attacked their village of Tal Ezayr in the northern Iraqi province of Mosul close to Syrian border last year.
Yazidi sisters, who escaped from captivity by Islamic State (IS) militants, sit in a tent at Sharya refugee camp on the outskirts of Duhok province July 3, 2015. The sisters were among one hundred women, men and children taken by IS as prisoners after the militants attacked their village of Tal Ezayr in the northern Iraqi province of Mosul close to Syrian border last year. © STRINGER Iraq / Reuters

The government will be going to great lengths to protect the privacy of the survivors, said Dawn Edlund, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Almost all of refugees being interviewed by Canadian officials in Iraq have been subjected to some form of serious abuse, she said.

“While they’ve detailed what they’ve been subjected to, many of them haven’t told even their family members about that information,” Edlund said. “These individuals have also told us they’re very afraid of having the label of victim placed on them and of never being able to escape it.”

Officials and the media have to be very careful not to do anything that may revictimize or retraumatize them, she said.

“The other factor is many of them have relatives who are still in captivity and they worry, undoubtedly with good reason, that if their arrival in Canada is identified, this will place their relatives at increased risk,” Edlund said. “So we’re being very cautious with this population as opposed to the more open approach that we used with the Syrian operation.”

The resettlement program  is expected to cost the treasury $28 million and will not affect the government’s plans to admit other refugees to Canada, officials said.

Refugees-English

Share
Tagged with: ,
Posted in Immigration & Refugees

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*