Statement - Minister Kenney reflects on the resettling of Iraqi refugees

Montreal, July 22, 2011 — Today, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney made the following statement:

As Minister, I have the privilege of meeting many refugees and I am always deeply moved and inspired by their life stories — stories that demonstrate their courage to survive in the face of the most harrowing of ordeals. And it is intensely satisfying to see how those offered protection have taken to rebuilding their lives in the freedom and peace of Canada.

That is why I have worked to ensure Canada continues to have one of the world’s largest refugee resettlement programs.

In 2009, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called on the nations of the world to resettle more displaced Iraqis to address the large number of Iraqis unable to return to their homes. The Government of Canada responded to that call by doubling the number of resettled refugees to be welcomed through our mission in Damascus, where most Iraqi refugees apply, and we have committed to maintaining those high levels through 2013.

Between 2009 and March 31, 2011, more than 9,000 Iraqi citizens have been resettled to Canada, and by the end of 2013, we anticipate that through this commitment, Canada will have resettled about 20,000 displaced Iraqis.

What is most heartening to me is how Canadians themselves have responded. Remarkably, more than 5,600 of those refugees who have come to Canada between 2009 and March 31, 2011, have done so through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. Clearly, many citizens and permanent residents of Canada have come together through this program to demonstrate their deep, enduring commitment to the humanitarian goals of peace, solidarity, and religious freedom we hold dear.

There are more than 10 million refugees in the world today and we recognize our limitations. However, Canada can be proud of its actions to come to the aid of people who seek our protection, and to help provide a new and secure beginning for victims of violence and persecution around the world.

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For further information (media only), please contact:

Candice Malcolm
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

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