We have reported on several occasions that Iraqi Palestinians, not wanted in Iraq because they were originally there as guests of Saddam Hussein, were refused entry into Syria and have been living in camps at the Iraq-Syria border. A few have gone to Iceland and Chile for resettlement. Now comes word that several hundred are going to Canada.
Some of the 336 Palestinian refugees stranded in an isolated refugee camp on the Iraq-Syria border will soon have new homes in Canada.
Through its private sponsorship program the Canadian government is making it possible for churches and other private sponsors to sponsor some of the residents living in the Al Hol refugee camp, one of three make-shift refugee camps along the border between Syria and Iraq, said Gloria Nafziger of Amnesty International-Canada.
Nafziger represented the Canadian Council for Refugees on a visit to the three camps in November 2008 and highlighted the need for immediate action during a speaking tour hosted by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) refugee programs in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Colombia.
About 3,000 Palestinian refugees are trapped in the border camps, said Nafziger during her Manitoba visit. They fled killings, kidnappings, torture and death threats in Iraq, but unlike other Iraqi refugees they do not have Iraqi citizenship and are not allowed to enter Syria to seek asylum.
These are the same Palestinian refugees I told you about here. They called their Arab brothers hypocrites for not accepting them in Muslim countries.
Canada has private refugee resettlement—something I have been advocating in the US. Presumably those sponsoring refugees are completely responsible for them until they are established in the country.
Canada is the only country in the world that has a private sponsorship program to assist the government in resettlement of refugees and displaced people, said Wiebe.
Each year, the Canadian government resettles approximately 7,500 refugees through government programs and an additional 3,500 through private sponsorships. Mennonite churches in Canada, through MCC, have helped more than 50,000 refugees resettle in Canada under this private sponsorship program.