Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Decision to Resettle Syrian Refugees in Canada

January 28, 2016

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Washington, DC - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) celebrates the implementation of the Welcome Refugees program, through which the State of Canada plans to receive 25,000 Syrian refugees. On December 10, 2015, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the first group of refugees who arrived at the Toronto airport, accompanied by government officials, civil society and Canadian citizens.

According to information provided by the Canadian government, since the implementation of this program, which was announced in November 2015, a total of 14,003 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada. This initiative has received the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the temporary host countries: Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. By February 29th, 2016, the State of Canada expects to have welcomed the rest of the 25,000 refugees. The program, which involves the work of Canadian federal agencies and a long list of civil society organizations, includes specialized care and integration services for refugees to the community where they will establish permanent residency.

"I take this opportunity to recognize the importance of the program recently launched by Canada, as well as other programs previously implemented by Argentina, Brasil, the United States and Uruguay, for the resettlement of refugees who were forced to flee their homes as a result of the war in Syria,” said Commissioner James Cavallaro, President of the IACHR. These actions reaffirm once again the humanitarian tradition of the States of the region for the protection of refugees. We urge other States in the region to replicate these good practices on refugee resettlement."

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 005/16