'Beyond the Syrian refugees': Canadians urged to help others too

As Canada opens its doors to thousands of Syrian refugees, advocates are asking Canadians to also consider welcoming those fleeing other conflicts and persecution.

See Full Article

Immigration Minister John McCallum said Sunday that Canada could accept as many as 50,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016, potentially doubling the government's previous commitment to take in 25,000 by the end of February.

And as Canadians rally to help that effort, Canadian Council of Refugees Executive Director Janet Dench says her organization hopes they will also think about helping refugees fleeing from other war-torn countries, too.

"We're hoping that people who are now responding to Syrian refugees … might also take a moment to think about refugees from other regions of the world," Dench told CTV's Canada AM on Monday.

While Dench applauded the Liberal government's actions to fast-track Syrian refugee applications, she said refugees from places such as Afghanistan, the Congo, the Sudan, or Eritrea face obstacles in trying to come to Canada.

"It is a concern for people from other parts of the world, wondering if they've been a little bit forgotten in all of the rush to help Syrian refugees," she said.

According to Dench, refugees from places outside of Syria still face lengthy processing times.

"It is very routine for people to wait five years," she said. "And of course during that time people die, people get sick, children go without education … it's really unacceptable."

And if refugees from places other than Syria are accepted, Dench said, they'll also face extra barriers in Canada.

The previous Conservative government slashed healthcare coverage for refugees, cutting back on access to prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, and mental health care for some newcomers.

The Liberals have since pledged to provide those services for the Syrian refugees it has brought in since coming to power.

But refugees from other countries won't be guaranteed the same support, Dench said.

"At the moment it means that two refugees that arrive on the same day … if they arrive as a Congolese refugee then they don't have the same healthcare as a Syrian refugee," she said.

While Dench praised efforts by the government and ordinary Canadians to help Syrians reach safety, she said she hoped a renewed interest in refugee issues would spur further action.

"We're hoping that more and more Canadians will look beyond the Syrian refugees," she said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Feds called upon to make air transport essential service for Inuit, North

    Canada News CTV News
    Full coverage at CTVNews.ca/Coronavirus Tracking every case of COVID-19 in Canada PM Trudeau says more medical supplies coming in days as industry retools Source
  • Florida police taking another look at disappearance depicted in Netflix's Tiger King

    World News CBC News
    It might be the biggest diversion from the coronavirus pandemic: binge-watching the luridly fascinating Netflix documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Now a Florida sheriff is asking the public for tips regarding one of the lingering mysteries raised in the recently released show: What happened to Carole Baskin's husband? Source
  • Citing COVID-19, Saudi Arabia asks Muslims to put hajj plans on hold

    World News CBC News
    Saudi Arabia wants Muslims to wait until there is more clarity about the COVID-19 pandemic before planning to attend the annual hajj pilgrimage, the minister for hajj and umrah said on state TV Tuesday. Some 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world usually flock to the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the weeklong ritual, which is considered a mandatory duty for able-bodied Muslim at least once in their lifetime, as well as a major source of income for the kingdom. Source
  • Facebook joins resistance to Bolsonaro virus claims

    World News CTV News
    SAO PAULO -- Major social media companies are taking aim at Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's dismissal of social distancing, joining others in the country who have lined up against his controversial stance regarding the new coronavirus. Source
  • Private funeral, public memorial later set for Joseph Lowery

    World News CTV News
    ATLANTA -- A small, private funeral service for the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery will be held this week out of concerns about the coronavirus, but a large public memorial for the civil rights leader will be held this fall, family members said Tuesday. Source
  • Los Angeles County sheriff abandoning effort to shut down firearms dealers in wake of COVID-19

    World News CTV News
    Full coverage at CTVNews.ca/Coronavirus Tracking every case of COVID-19 in Canada PM Trudeau says more medical supplies coming in days as industry retools Source
  • People claiming to have COVID-19 are threatening to cough on officers: N.S. RCMP

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia RCMP says people claiming to have COVID-19 are threatening to cough on police officers. The Mounties say, over the past several days, a number of RCMP officers have reported being threatened to be coughed on by people claiming to have the virus. Source
  • Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jews in fight over virus rules

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM, ISRAEL -- Israeli police with face masks and batons and backed by surveillance helicopters have stepped up patrols of ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods that have become coronavirus hotspots. This week has seen tense altercations, and some rabbis have admitted that their communities, where prayer and scripture study are traditionally communal, are not observing new social distancing regulations. Source
  • Prisoner advocates urge release strategy to prevent spread of COVID-19 behind bars

    Canada News CBC News
    Prisoners' advocates are ramping up calls to release lower-risk offenders after the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) confirmed COVID-19 cases in two penitentiaries — and are warning that maintaining crowded conditions behind bars during a global pandemic could have disastrous consequences. Source
  • Bill Blair asks prison, parole heads to consider releasing some inmates to stop spread of COVID-19

    Canada News CBC News
    Prisoners' advocates are ramping up calls to release lower-risk offenders after the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) confirmed COVID-19 cases in two penitentiaries — and are warning that maintaining crowded conditions behind bars during a global pandemic could have disastrous consequences. Source