Newspaper article The Canadian Press

As Liberals Decide How to Bring 25,000 Syrians to Canada, the Choice Is Also Who

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

As Liberals Decide How to Bring 25,000 Syrians to Canada, the Choice Is Also Who

Article excerpt

Who are the 25,000 Syrians coming to Canada?

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OTTAWA - Somewhere right now, in a refugee camp in Amman or a rental apartment in Beirut or on a street in Istanbul, sits a Syrian hoping to be among the 25,000 people resettled to Canada, possibly by the end of the year.

United Nations staff working with the Canadian government to figure out who will be on the planes or ships dispatched to the region in the coming weeks say they are trying to keep expectations realistic.

"Rumours are already going in the refugee populations that there's a large program, that Canadians are coming," said Furio De Angelis, the Canadian representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

"We have to explain, present it as it is, an extraordinary effort but not everyone is eligible."

The UN refugee agency, tasked with overseeing what's been called the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War -- is actually very specific when it comes to selecting people for resettlement.

Their cases are assessed against a number of categories, including whether they're in immediate physical danger, are survivors of violence or torture, have medical needs or are a woman, child or adolescent at risk.

Those categories are applied against a person's current situation, not the one they left. So, for example, a female refugee from Syrian being detained in Lebanon and who is therefore at risk of being deported, could be a case that lands on a Canadian visa officer's desk.

But unlike usual procedures, where the cases are processed individually, this program will likely involving the batching together of groups and the simplification of paperwork. For example, the Canadian government could accept that no one under 18 is likely a major security risk and lessen the requirement to conduct detailed reviews of those files.

The focus is on choosing refugees from Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. …

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