World Bulletin/News Desk
Canada will accept another 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next three years as well as 3,000 Iraqis in 2015, the Canadian government announced Wednesday.
The commitment is a direct response to the United Nations appeal in December for countries to take in 100,000 refugees.
“We are here today as we have been saying for some time to confirm that Canada is doing more,” Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said in making the announcement in Toronto.
Private groups will sponsor about 60 percent of the 10,000 refugees and the government the remainder, he said.
The government said the commitment is huge because no other country has announced it is willing to take in so many Syrian refugees.
The government also announced another $90 million in aid for those affected by the turmoil in Syria and Iraq, with the money being disbursed through humanitarian organizations such as the Red Cross and the UN.
The Syrian refugee crisis has grown so large because of increased violence that the number of Syrians under United Nations protection is now the largest in the world, surpassing Afghanistan, according to a UN report that was also released Wednesday.
“At more than 3 million as of June 2014, Syrian refugees now account for 23 percent of all refugees being helped by UNHCR worldwide,” the United Nations high commissioner for refugees report stated.
The Canadian pledge comes after immigration groups took the government to task for falling behind in its commitment to take in 1,300 Syrian refugees by the end of 2014.
“As of today 1,285 refugees have been approved to come to Canada,” Alexander said. “Almost 1,100 of those are in Canada.”
Paul Dewar, New Democratic Party foreign affairs critic, welcomed the announcement of the increase but offered a word of caution.
“I’m glad to see that minister Alexander has changed his position and realized that Canada has a role to play with regards to Syrian refugees,” he said in a written statement. “But this is only an announcement and we need to see an actual action plan on how they’re going to settle 10,000 refugees.”
Last Mod: 08 Ocak 2015, 11:43