The minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC), Sean Fraser, announced the arrival of over 250 Afghan government-assisted refugees on January 11, 2022. This included 170 human rights defenders, women leaders, persecuted religious or ethnic minorities, LGBTI individuals, and journalists.
These refugees came to Canada under the special human rights defenders’ immigration stream for Afghans who worked for Canada during the military mission, which was launched in July 2021. To this date, Canada has welcomed more than 6,750 Afghan nationals under this stream.
The government of Canada recognizes that defenders of human rights play a crucial role in promoting and protecting human rights around the world, and they often risk their own lives to do so. Majority of those arriving today have documented human rights abuses in Afghanistan for decades and intend to continue their work in Canada with the assistance of Canadian and international non-governmental organizations.
The refugees will be welcomed into their host communities in the coming days and will quarantine with the support of local service providers as they begin their new lives in Canada.
Canadian and international partners, including the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNRA), such as Front Line Defenders and ProtectDefenders, are working together to identify human rights defenders. These are for those who face security risks and need to be resettled, as well as to find solutions for human rights defenders in need of protection.
The Refugee Resettlement Program at IRCC plays a vital role in resettling vulnerable individuals across the country by providing them with tools to thrive in their new communities.