UNHCR welcomes first arrivals of Syrian refugees in Canada


An article by The UN Refugee Agency

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 11 December 2015, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.


UNHCR welcomes news of the arrival in Canada last night of the first group of Syrian refugees under a recently announced humanitarian programme which will provide a new life for 25,000 Syrian refugees. This first group of 163 refugees arrived from Lebanon by Royal Canadian Air Force jet.

Canada has acted swiftly to implement this initiative, which was announced in late November. UNHCR is continuing to work with the Canadian authorities in identifying vulnerable Syrians for settlement in Canada. The refugees’ welcome to Canada will be underpinned by its well-recognised community integration programmes.

The Canadian programmes are a practical expression of support to Syrian refugees and demonstration of solidarity to those countries in the region hosting more than four million Syrian refugees. The difficult situation for Syrian refugees continues to deteriorate, with increasing numbers living below national poverty lines.

UNHCR encourages other states to engage in these programmes. They provide critical support for refugees currently hosted in countries neighbouring Syria. To date some 30 countries have pledged a total of more than 160,000 places for Syrians under resettlement and other humanitarian admissions schemes. UNHCR estimates 10 per cent of the 4.1 million registered refugees in countries neighbouring Syria are vulnerable and are in need of resettlement or humanitarian admission to a third country.

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