Canada To Help Resettle 5,000 Refugees From Turkey By 2018

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By Vijaykumar Meti | January 17, 2013 6:49 PM EST

Canada will resettle up to 5,000 displaced Iranian and Iraqi refugees from Turkey in the next five years, in an attempt to ease the overall burden on Turkey, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced earlier this week during his visit to Turkey.

"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," Kenney said.

"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," he added.

The refugees will be relocated by 2018 and this will help Canada to get closer to its 2009 and 2010 pledges to resettle around 20,000 Iraqi refugees from Turkey. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, so far, about 12,000 refugees are resettled in Canada.

Canada will be resettling only "bona fide" refugees - only those who are certified as requiring resettlement - by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Kenney added.

"Canada has long been a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution, and we are proud to continue this tradition today," he pointed out.

It's the first time Canada has made a multi-year commitment to Turkey to help resettle refugees. Canada is one of few countries to operate a resettlement program with Turkey, as only the United States holds the record for resettling more refugees. Majority of the refugees are referred by the UNHCR for resettlement in Canada.

It is one of the most generous resettlement programs in the world and has helped in resettling one in 10 refugees worldwide through this program. In all, Canada will accept about 14,500 refugees in the coming year.

Reportedly, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is contributing $1.5 million to help ensure that essential emergency relief items are distributed to the helpless refugees at the Turkish-Syrian border.

In addition, the government is also working to identify the total number of refugees including vulnerable individuals, so that it meets the country's commitment to resettle 20 percent of such individuals each year. 

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