‘International leadership:’ MPs chart new course by bringing Yazidi genocide survivors to Canada
2016/11/16 Leave a comment
Not to be underestimated:
With less than four months to move as many several thousand Yazidis to Canada from conflict zones and refugee camps, MPs will learn from officials this week about the complex security and operational hurdles ahead.
Last month, the House of Commons unanimously adopted a Conservative motion to provide assistance and asylum to survivors of ISIS genocide, mainly from within the Yazidi ethnic minority group. Now, the government must develop a quick action plan that steps outside the traditional United Nations process.
The Yazidi genocide survivors are currently trapped in high-conflict areas in Northern Iraq or waiting in refugee camps in Syria, Greece and Turkey.
On Thursday, MPs on the citizenship and immigration committee will hear about the biggest challenges, first from Canadian officials who were dispatched to northern Iraq on a fact-finding mission, then from German officials about their own experience helping to rescue Yazidi refugees.
Liberal MP and committee chair Borys Wrzesnewskyj said Canada could chart a new process for the world by helping the most vulnerable victims of atrocities outside the UN regime.
Calling this a “new reality,” he said Canada must not wring its hands in the face of horrors, but rather adapt and act with moral authority.
“There’s clearly a lack in the established frameworks, and perhaps this is a role Canada can take on internationally and lead in,” Wrzesnewskyj told CBC News. “The fact we’re taking in a number of genocide survivors — women and girls who have gone through unimaginable horrors — we’re taking international leadership by doing this.”
Despite the tremendous challenges, he hopes the committee can provide parliamentary oversight to Canada’s process, and even provide a template for other countries to follow.
“There is almost a personal element to this, and we want to make sure we do this in a way that Canadians can point to with pride and say, ‘We made a difference for these genocide survivors,'” he said.
Yazidis are one of the oldest religious and ethnic minorities in the world with a 6,000-year-old culture, based mainly in northern Iraq.