In response to the Government of Canada’s plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees by year end, Oxfam Canada’s Humanitarian Manager, Ann Witteveen, said:
“Canada is a prosperous country, with a strong tradition of welcoming asylum seekers. In its report Fair Share: Solidarity with Syrians, Oxfam found that Canada had been generous compared to some other nations. But compared to countries like Lebanon – struggling to cope with an influx of over 1 million refugees – it’s clear that Canada can do much more. The new Government’s plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees is an improvement over previous pledges, and a good place to start.”
“Massive numbers of people have fled violence and conflict in Syria and Iraq. Countless women and girls are at risk of violence and abuse, including sexual assault and forced child marriage. Mothers are worried for their families as a hard winter approaches, and many refugees are making the perilous journey to Europe in a desperate bid for a life with dignity.”
“We welcome the news that Canada wishes to proceed swiftly with its plan, and urge the new Government to do so responsibly – ensuring that adequate support mechanisms are in place and including Canadian Civil society in discussions and planning. What’s important here is not for Canada to set a specific date, but to be as generous as possible and ensure that all reasonable efforts are made to speed up processes,” said Witteveen.
Globally, the Syria crisis humanitarian response is only half funded. Through its advocacy work – in particular fair share reports – Oxfam has repeatedly called on all donor countries to increase humanitarian aid to the region, to work towards the resettlement of a larger number of Syrian refugees and to support diplomatic efforts that lead to peace.