Canada’s refugee effort hailed as model for world by head of UN agency

March 23, 2016

By CBC News |

Canada’s use of both government and private sponsors to help Syrian refugees resettle is a model that should be exported around the world, the head of the United Nations refugee agency said Monday.

Canada was the first of what’s still only a handful of states which allow private groups to take on the costs and obligations associated with refugee resettlement and it’s an approach that ought to be tried elsewhere as the flow of displaced people from the Syrian civil war and other conflicts continues, Filippo Grandi said.

“It adds more places for resettlement, but it also contributes to create this sense in civil society that it is a positive thing to do,” Grandi said of the private sponsorship program in an interview with The Canadian Press.

He spoke ahead of a day of meetings with senior government officials, including Immigration Minister John McCallum, who will be a keynote speaker at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ summit on the Syrian crisis in Geneva next week.

Grandi is asking states to take in about 10 per cent of the estimated 4.2 million people who’ve become refugees from the Syrian civil war.

The Liberal government had committed to taking in 25,000 government-assisted refugees by the end of this year and have about 8,000 more to go towards that goal. But they have not set a firm number for how many Syrians they will admit through the private system. The total refugee settlement target for this year — from all countries — is 44,800.

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