Recently, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced that it will welcome more Bhutanese refugees residing in Nepal, up to a maximum of 1,000 people. As one of the countries that admit the largest number of refugees, this measure demonstrates Canada’s generous attitude toward the most vulnerable from around the world.
The Kingdom of Bhutan, a small country surrounded by India and China, has produced an estimated 108,000 refugees since the 1990s due to its “one nation-one people” policy, which antagonizes the Lhotsampas, the country’s Nepalese-speaking Hindus minority. Most of these asylum-seekers settle in neighbouring Nepal, creating large refugee camps in the country.
“Canada has a longstanding tradition of assisting refugees[…] We recognize the importance of family reunification in this process, and resettling refugees who already have family in Canada will help them adjust much faster and more easily,” says Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism.
Along with Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the United States, and the United Kingdom, Canada is committed to resettling these Bhutanese refugees. In addition to its promise to resettle 5,000 Bhutanese asylum seekers over five years in 2007, Canada plans to select another 1,000 Bhutanese from refugee camps in Nepal over the next two years, increasing the total number to 6,500. Presently, the 5,000 individuals have arrived and settled in Canada.
Canada also extends its refugee protection to other nations. For example, Canada intends to resettle up to 5,000 Iraqi and Iranian refugees in Turkey, and it remains committed to over 20,000 Iraqi refugees in Syria.
According to Kenney, Canada welcomes one in ten refugees who resettle worldwide. Figures in 2010 show that the Canadian government has planned to increase its refugee admittance and resettlement funding by 20% by 2013 to help refugees come to Canada and integrate into Canadian society.
Furio De Angelis, the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canada, applauds the government for helping “refugees who have been living in camps for more than two decades find a new home and start anew.”
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