Magazine article Geographical

Leading the Way: Canada Is Ahead of Others in Terms of Syrian Refugee Resettlement, but Are the Numbers All They're Cracked Up to Be?

Magazine article Geographical

Leading the Way: Canada Is Ahead of Others in Terms of Syrian Refugee Resettlement, but Are the Numbers All They're Cracked Up to Be?

Article excerpt

Navigating winter snow storms, planes full of private and government-sponsored Syrians continue to arrive at Toronto Pearson airport thanks to the UNHCR's resettlement programme. According to its pledge, the Canadian government hopes to have resettled 25,000 refugees from Syria by the end of February, and 50,000 more by the end of the year--matching its intake of Southeast Asian refugees in 1979.

Per capita, this pledge is enormous compared to those from the US, Australia and the UK at 10,000,12,000 and 4,000 respectively. In the last six months, all four countries have made moves to scale up their resettlement of Syrians, but Canada, under the new liberal government of Justin Trudeau, is racing ahead.

However, according to Dr Will Jones, departmental lecturer at the University of Oxford's Refugee Study Centre, resettlement pledges are doing little to dent the refugee crisis overall. 'While the pledges from Australia, the USA, the UK and Canada are increasing, in most cases they are headline figures and do little in the way of implementation,' he says. There is little progress towards an organised, large-scale resettlement and the selective nature of screening Syrians slows down its impact. …

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