Canada to welcome 1,200 'vulnerable' Yazidi refugees from Iraq
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen confirmed Canada's latest plans to welcome the "highly vulnerable" group of survivors, adding that some 400 had already been airlifted to the country.
"Our operation is under way and individual survivors of Daesh have been arriving in Canada for resettlement in the last number of months and this began on October 25, 2016," said Hussen, using an Arabic name for the Islamic State.
"Our government will resettle approximately 1,200 highly vulnerable survivors of Daesh and their family members in Canada," he added.
The initiative follows parliament's resolution last autumn to take in Yazidis facing "genocide" in Iraq at the hands of the militant IS group.
The original aim was to bring over women and girls at risk, but Hussen told a news conference that Ottawa had learned that "Daesh has also deliberately targeted boys and as such we are helping to resettle all child survivors of Daesh."
Hussen said the migrants are arriving on commercial flights at a "controlled pace" to prevent the Can$28 million (US$21 million) operation from overwhelming Canada's refugee system.
Since coming to power in late 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has resettled 40,000 Syrian refugees in a move that has been highly commended by rights groups worldwide.
The Yazidis taken in have been subjected to comprehensive security checks and medical examinations, Hussen assured.
Yazidis are a Kurdish-speaking minority with a pre-Islamic religion thought partly to have its origin in the Zoroastrianism of ancient Persia. They are neither Arab nor Muslim and IS considers them - among other minority sects in the region - polytheistic heretics.