Canada to take in 10,000 more Syrian refugees

Canada to take in 10,000 more Syrian refugees
Canada will take in an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees, adding to the more than 25,000 already received in the last few months.
2 min read
01 April, 2016
Canada welcomed 25,000 Syrian refugees in February as promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau [Getty]

Canada says it will take in an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees, just months after fulfilling its promise to accept 25,000 Syrians escaping the civil war.

Immigration Minister John McCallum told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp he was responding to complaints from Canadian groups who want to sponsor Syrian refugees, but did not have their applications processed quickly enough to be among the government's initial target of 25,000.

"We are doing everything we can to accommodate the very welcomed desire on the part of Canadians to sponsor refugees," McCallum said.

The Liberal government won election in October 2015 pledging to bring in more Syrian refugees more quickly than the previous Conservative government.

Private groups including church, family and community organisations had lined up to sponsor Syrian families, reported Reuters.

In February, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government welcomed the refugees with one hundred flights chartered between Canada, Lebanon and Jordan. McCallum tweeted the news saying: "25000 reasons why Canadians should be proud today #WelcomeRefugees."

Canada's announcement comes as a leading international charity urged countries to step up and do more, saying wealthy countries had resettled only a fraction of the nearly five million refugees who have fled Syria.

Oxfam called on wealthy countries to resettle at least 10 percent of the 4.8 million Syrian refugees registered in the region surrounding the war-ravaged nation by the end of the year.

So far, rich countries have pledged fewer than 130,000 resettlement spots, and only around 67,100 people – a mere 1.39 percent of the refugees – have made it to their final destinations since 2013, Oxfam said.

Its analysis showed only three of the world's wealthy countries – Canada, Germany and Norway – had pledged more resettlement spots than what was considered their "fair share" according to the size of their economies.

As the brutal conflict enters its sixth year, most of the people who have fled are located in Syria's immediate neighbours such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

But as the war has dragged on and conditions have worsened in the surrounding states, Syrians have increasingly set their sights on Europe, accounting for most of the more than one million migrants who risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean last year.

They are also believed to be heavily represented among the more than 7,500 people, including many children, who have died trying to make the crossing since 2014.