“With escalating violence in the region, more people are seeking protection in Turkey, and our commitment to resettle 5,000 mostly Iraqi and Iranian refugees in Canada will help Turkey deal with this growing pressure,” said Minister Kenney. “We recognize that sheltering such an immense refugee population creates pressures on domestic resources and we commend the Government of Turkey for keeping her borders open to those fleeing the ongoing conflict in the region.”
Canada’s acceptance of Iranian and Iraqi refugees will help ease the overall burden on Turkey, freeing up resources for the current influx of Syrian persons seeking protection in the country. Canada will continue to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help the UNHCR address the needs of refugees and other vulnerable persons in Turkey.
Canada is one of only a few countries to operate a resettlement program out of Turkey, and only the United States takes more refugees. The majority of these refugees will be referred by the UNHCR for resettlement to Canada.
“Canada has long been a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution, and we are proud to continue this tradition today,” said Minister Kenney. “To date, some 12,000 Iraqi refugees have been resettled in Canada, mostly out of Syria. Canada remains committed to its 2009 and 2010 pledges to resettle up to 20,000 Iraqi refugees in need of protection. Today’s commitment will help bring us closer to that goal and will also mark the first time we make a specific multi-year commitment to resettling refugees out of Turkey.”
Canada already has one of the most generous resettlement programs in the world and welcomes one in 10 refugees resettled worldwide through its programs. In addition, the government is working to increase the total number of refugees and other individuals in vulnerable circumstances that this country resettles each year by 20 percent, as part of its commitment to Canada’s humanitarian tradition.
After three years of increases, as of this year Canada aims to resettle up to 14,500 refugees and other individuals in vulnerable circumstances.