2021-09-28 04:16:05 Canada Doubles Its Afghan Refugee Resettlement Target to 40,000 People
Canada Doubles Its Afghan Refugee Resettlement Target to 40,000 People
The number of Afghans fleeing the Taliban that Canada plans to accept has been doubled to 40,000, according to Canada’s foreign minister, fulfilling a campaign pledge made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The announcement, which came a week after Mr. Trudeau’s party was re-elected, was sure to be welcomed by Canadian humanitarian organizations. They had pressed the government to do much more after it initially committed to taking in 20,000 refugees after the Taliban took power last month.
Many Afghans have hoped to flee the country due to the Taliban’s harsh interpretation of Islamic law and repression of women, and members of Mr. Trudeau’s cabinet had stated during the campaign that they would accept more refugees than the original 20,000 figure.
However, the foreign minister’s announcement Monday, while addressing the annual General Assembly at the United Nations, was the first official word of the expansion.
The tripling of the Afghan effort will put it on par with the Syrian resettlement program that marked Mr. Trudeau’s first year in office. From November 2015 to the end of the following year, it took in 39,636 refugees.
Mr. Garneau mentioned Canada’s resettlement of Syrians when announcing its Afghanistan plan from the General Assembly podium in New York.
“Now, in the face of a heartbreaking situation in Afghanistan, Canadians have once again demonstrated their openness to those who do not want to live under Taliban rule but prefer to stand up for democracy, human rights, and gender equality,” he said.
“In fact, Canadians overwhelmingly demanded that we do more,” he stated. “And, as a result of their generosity and welcoming spirit, we have now committed to welcoming 40,000 Afghan refugees to Canada — so that they, too, can contribute to our success, while we continue to support their efforts for a more peaceful, tolerant world.”
As with Syrian refugees previously, groups of individual Canadians will be able to privately sponsor Afghans seeking to enter the country and be responsible for their resettlement.
In an interview, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino stated that Canada has established overland routes to evacuate Afghans to neighboring countries.
“It is critical that we continue to ensure that the Taliban respects the right to safe passage so that as many Afghans as possible can leave,” Mr. Mendicino said. He also stated that the expanded resettlement effort will prioritize women, girls, L.G.B.T. Afghans, and members of ethnic and religious minorities who have previously been targeted by the Taliban.
Mr. Garneau also used the largest diplomatic stage to criticize China for its treatment of two Canadian citizens detained on speculative charges after Canada detained Meng Wanzhou, a top executive of the Chinese technology giant Huawei, on an extradition request from the US nearly three years ago. Ms. Meng was freed on Friday, and China also released two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.
Mr. Garneau stated, “Canada upheld the rule of law, and two Canadian citizens paid a high price for this commitment.” “We continue to oppose the treatment of these two fine people.”