After dragging its feet for four months, Canada’s Liberal government has agreed to implement a motion sponsored by the opposition Conservatives to accept 1,200 Yazidi refugees — who have been targeted by ISIS for genocide.
Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced the initiative Tuesday afternoon and said the expected cost of delivering on the pledge is $28 million.
Conservative Member of Parliament and immigration critic Michelle Rempel, who has fought hard for the victims of ISIS terror, preferred to credit others with the decision, tweeting:
— Michelle Rempel, MP (@MichelleRempel) February 21, 2017
Canada will accept 1,200 Yazidi refugees, ethnic Kurds from northern Iraq who practice a syncretic monotheistic faith that has made them a vulnerable minority for Islamic extremists.
Rempel hopes the announcement will encourage other countries to make the Yazidi population a refugee priority.
Canada has welcomed nearly 400 of them since October but their plight remains largely unknown to the world as they do not seek publicity — so vulnerable are they to ISIS persecution.
At a news conference in Ottawa yesterday, associated deputy immigration minister Dawn Edlund, who specializes in the Yazidi file, told reporters, “Some of these women haven’t even told their own families about what they experienced.”
Some recent arrivals will not speak publicly about their persecution and wish do remain anonymous because they are worried about the fate of those whom they’ve left behind.
Hussen wouldn’t elaborate on the horror stories either, telling reporters to check UN reports.
But Rempel, who gave the Liberals credit for finally acting on her motion, said she has heard the stories from survivors who talk of rape, torture and other atrocities.
“The reality is that if the international community doesn’t wake up to the plight of these people, they will be wiped off the face of the earth,” Rempel said.
“And that’s why it’s so important to look at resettlement of these people as only one very small piece of the broader puzzle.”
While 1,200 of the refugees will be processed by the government, private sponsorship of additional numbers will be encouraged.
In addition to 1,200 government-assisted refugees, the government says it also intends to facilitate private sponsorships of Yazidi refugees.
The Conservative motion that spurred Tuesday’s commitment recognized that ISIS is committing genocide against the Yazidis and using their women and girls as sex slaves.