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Canada, a new home for Yazidi refugees and survivors of Daesh

As of January 31, 2021, Canada has welcomed more than 1,400 survivors of Daesh, including 1,356 government-assisted survivors (1,149 Yazidi women and girls) and 94 privately sponsored survivors (all Yazidi women and girls).

Over the past few years, the Government of Canada has kept its commitment to help Yazidi refugees and other survivors of Daesh start new lives in this country. Over 1,400 have settled in Canada since 2017, escaping unimaginable horrors at the hands of Daesh. Yet many of these refugees had to leave family members behind.

Building on the success of Canada’s resettlement efforts, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced a new policy to help more Yazidis and other survivors of Daesh reunite with their families in Canada. This policy will reunite extended family members, including siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, along with those who may have been unable to previously apply for resettlement.

Following the successful welcoming of 1,200 survivors of Daesh by the end of 2017, the Government of Canada implemented a second policy to help family members come to Canada. That public policy ended in December 2020. Now, having listened to community concerns about matters such as the definition of immediate family member or refugee, and about family members who were missing or in captivity, the government is launching a new policy to allow more refugees to resettle and more families to reunite in Canada.

Canada has led the world in resettling refugees for the past 3 years. Indeed, the United Nations Refugee Agency called Canada “a bright light in a horrible year for refugee resettlement.” As the world faces a refugee crisis, Canada will continue to step up and provide refuge for those fleeing war and persecution.

Survivors of Daesh are people in Northern Iraq, including Iraqis and Yazidis, who have been victims of threats or acts that include sexual slavery, enslavement, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, family separation, forced displacement, or forcible transfer causing serious bodily or mental harm by Daesh. The Yazidis are one of Iraq’s oldest minorities.

Survivors of Daesh in Canada have been primarily resettled to Toronto, London, Winnipeg, and Calgary. These cities were chosen following comprehensive consultations with stakeholders to identify where existing Yazidi communities were established and where adequate support, including medical, psychosocial, and interpretation services, was in place.

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