On December 10, 2021, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser issued a statement on International Human Rights Day, celebrating the importance of human rights and calling on all Canadians to strive for equality and against discrimination.
He announced his pride for Canada’s long history of providing refuge to people whose rights are threatened, ‘from the Vietnamese boat people in the 1970’s to the more recent Operation Syrian Refugees.’ He also mentioned this year’s significance as in 2021, the government launched a unique Human Rights Defenders immigration stream to protect and promote human rights.
The immigration minister said that Canada has committed to settling 40,000 Afghan refugees, focusing on those at greatest risk, such as women and girls, persecuted minorities like Sikhs and Hazaras, as well as LGBTQI individuals. The program will also include human rights defenders whose work in defending these rights placed them at risk in Afghanistan.
He added that their work would not have been possible without all the partners around the world. To protect people fleeing human rights violations, Canada collaborates with several organizations including Front Line Defenders, ProtectDefenders.eu, and the UN High Commission for Refugees. Through their Refugee Resettlement Program, they are resettling these vulnerable individuals across the country and ensuring they have what they need to thrive in their new communities.
Sean Fraser stated that,
"This International Human Rights Day, I call on all Canadians to reflect on the importance of human rights in helping everyone reach their full potential. I invite them to join us in our efforts to strive for equality and against discrimination, taking steps to promote and protect human dignity for all."