Canada announces plans to resettle more Bhutanese refugees

Canada’s plan to welcome up to 500 more Bhutanese refugees was unveiled today by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, as World Refugee Day is celebrated around the world.

“In May 2007, the government committed to resettling up to 5,000 Bhutanese refugees who had been living for nearly two decades in refugee camps,” said Minister Kenney. “I’m pleased to announce that Canada will welcome up to 500 more Bhutanese refugees who have family connections in Canada.”

Bhutanese refugees have been living in several United Nations-run refugee camps in eastern Nepal since the early 1990s. As part of Canada’s commitment to working with the international community to find long-term solutions for these refugees, Canada agreed to resettle up to 5,000 Bhutanese.

As of October 2011, Canada had selected all 5,000 refugees − nearly 4,500 of whom have already arrived in Canada. The remainder, plus the additional 500, are expected to arrive throughout 2012.

“We are proud of the role Canada has played in the international effort to resolve this situation,” said Minister Kenney. “Canada has long been a place of refuge for people around the world and continues to have one of the most generous immigration and refugee systems in the world. We welcome one out of every 10 of all resettled refugees globally, more than any other industrialized country in the world.”

Canada’s commitment to help those in need of protection extends to refugees from many nations. For example, Canada resettled more than 3,900 ethnic Karen refugees from Burma who had been living for years in camps in Thailand.

In addition, Canada has steadily increased its refugee target since 2007 in the Middle East to allow for more resettlement of Iraqi refugees. CIC is continuing its efforts to process as many Iraqi applications as possible under the circumstances, given the ongoing violence and instability in Syria.

In addition, the Government of Canada is working to strengthen our asylum system to ensure that people in need of our protection get it faster, while those who don’t are removed more quickly. We are also cracking down on the heinous crime of human smuggling and sending the message to human smugglers that targeting Canada will no longer pay.

More information on the Bhutanese resettlement is available at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/outside/bhutanese.asp.

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