Canada received 47,800 refugee claimants in 2017, more than twice the number in 2016. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press/Aug. 4, 2017)

Canada was ninth-largest recipient of asylum seekers in 2017

War, violence and persecution drove 16.2 million people from their homes in 2017, bringing the total number of displaced persons in the world to 68.5 million, according to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.

‘Canada should be proud,’ says lawyer

Canada ranked ninth in terms the of number of asylum seekers it received and that number more than doubled from the year before to 47,800. The new arrivals included 7,300 from Haiti, 5,500 from Nigeria, 2,200 from Turkey and 2,100 from the U.S.

“Canada should really be proud of itself because we stepped up when we needed to and we resettled over 35,000 Syrian refugees,” says Petra Molnar, a lawyer and researcher with the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto.

Petra Molnar says politicians are stoking fear and xenophobia.

‘Backlash based on fear-mongering’

Molnar is dismayed by the treatment of asylum seekers in the United States and the growing backlash against migrants in several European countries. “I think a lot of this backlash is based on inaccurate and overblown fears around migration, and this kind of fear-mongering and xenophobia that we’re seeing across the world.”

While politicians like U.S. President Donald Trump evoke images of hordes of foreigners streaming across its borders, the fact is that only 33,400 refugees were settled in the U.S. last year and 85 per cent of all refugees are living in developing countries, and mostly in countries close to their own.

The UN report notes that many of the host countries are “desperately poor and receive little support to care for these populations.” The country hosting the most refugees is Turkey and Lebanon hosted the most relative to its population.

Rohingya fleeing violence and death in Myanmar numbered hundreds of thousands seeking shelter in Bangladesh. (Dar Yasin/AP Photo/Sept. 14, 2017)

‘We can do better’

The increase in the number of displaced people is not likely to slow down. The UN high commissioner for refugees says there needs to be “a new and far more comprehensive approach” to the managing forced displacement, and Molnar agrees. “What’s necessary is a hard look at our policies and how we can ensure that people really have a fair shake at being able to claim asylum and present their case and get the protection that they deserve.

“It’s really incumbent on democratic countries like Canada to be a leader on this front and I definitely think that we can do better.”

Categories: Immigration & Refugees, International, Society
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One comment on “Canada was ninth-largest recipient of asylum seekers in 2017
  1. Avatar Bob Williams says:

    “It’s really incumbent on democratic countries like Canada to be a leader on this front and I definitely think that we can do better.”

    Hundreds are crossing into Canada illegally everyday from a safe country the US. How does a desperate so called refugee have the money to buy a return plane ticket, visa and fly half way around the world to the US then a bus to Canada’s border. And in many cases they are leaving their family behind so they can chain immigrate here. It is a complete sham and the media is omitting the truth.

    This is illegal and they are economic migrants looking for the best welfare state and weak Government laws. Hence, Trudeau and the Liberals. This Government has recklessly undermined our immigration system which has worked well up until they took power. Close our border now and stop this free for all globalist agenda. Next Federal election is going to look like Ontario. Adios Trudeau.