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Yazidis to Canada (split fm SYR Refugees to Canada)

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The point of refugee policy is (or at least customarily was) to ultimately return refugees to their homes, not to turn them into displaced persons requiring resettlement.
Brad Sallows said:
The point of refugee policy is (or at least customarily was) to ultimately return refugees to their homes, not to turn them into displaced persons requiring resettlement.

And that is what a lot of people do not realize nowadays.

The view now is that if someone is fleeing from an area, that area is cursed forever and we must resettle them somewhere else.
GAP said:
Has anyone asked what the 10,000 Yazidi's want?
That right there. 

Problem, though, is if the Yazidis want out, and the Kurds we're supporting (the ones whose flag is on CF uniforms in theatre to show support) say, "they're not going", which is it, then?

Cdn Blackshirt said:
... Canada could be ethnically cleansing an area of the Yazidi culture.....hope Justin & crew reconsider.
Funny how the situation has changed in the 109 days since the Conservatives asked for this:
... The Liberal government must immediately act to bring Yazidi victims of genocide to Canada, and that means using political will to overcome the inertia presented by bureaucrats ...
I'm sure the Opposition, now that new facts have come to light, will suggest this may not be the best option - or suggest a way to circle the square of contradictory requests.  After all, it's not like they don't have experience on the file, right?  And like the New Vets Charter, they wouldn't want to be dinged for a bad idea implemented by another party, would they?
milnews.ca said:
I'm sure the Opposition, now that new facts have come to light, will suggest this may not be the best option - or suggest a way to circle the square of contradictory requests ...
The latest:  Tories say Liberals aren't trying hard enough ...
With a three-month deadline looming, the Liberal government is under mounting pressure to reveal its target and timeline to help Yazidi survivors of ISIS genocide.

Today (23 Nov), interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose suggested last month's unanimous vote in Parliament to help women and girls fleeing sexual slavery and torture within 120 days could prove to be a shallow victory.

"Government officials have admitted they are only targeting 50 women and girls to come to Canada for safe asylum," she said during the daily question period. "These women deserve more than a token effort. Their lives are on the line."

But Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum rejected that figure, insisting his department is working diligently to meet its mandate.

"We will certainly honour our commitment and my department is working very hard to devise a plan to bring in those who have suffered the atrocities of Daesh [also known as ISIS] within the time period prescribed by Parliament," he said ...
So, as Team Blue opposes for the sake of opposing on this one, and Team Red reflexively flinches in response to any suggestion that may look like it's helping, nobody seems to be (publicly, anyway) asking the question:  what's the best option to help these folks?
Flavus101 said:
And that is what a lot of people do not realize nowadays.

The view now is that if someone is fleeing from an area, that area is cursed forever and we must resettle them somewhere else.

As long as the Saudis are exporting their brand of Islam and have more than two shekels to rub together, the area is forever cursed. 
Lightguns said:
As long as the Saudis are exporting their brand of Islam and have more than two shekels to rub together, the area is forever cursed.

Cultural Genocide by another name.
More on Canada's Kurdish allies (allegedly, at least) making it hard for Yazidis to leave - including to Canada ...
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has placed disproportionate restrictions on the movement of goods into and out of the district of Sinjar, the center for Iraq’s Yezidi religious minority.

KRG officials say that the KRG is concerned about the activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed Kurdish militant organization that has forces in Sinjar, mostly made up of Yezidi fighters, and has de facto free movement across the border into Syria. But, just two years after the people of the district were subjected to violent attacks and abuses by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), blanket KRG restrictions disproportionate to any possible security considerations are causing unnecessary harm to people’s access to food, water, livelihoods, and other fundamental rights.

“After the devastating ISIS attacks on the area and slaughter of the Yezidi population two years ago, the KRG’s restrictions are another serious blow,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The KRG should be working to facilitate access to Sinjar for the hundreds of Yezidi civilians wishing to return to their homes, not adding more barriers to their recovery.” ...
Kurdish gov't in Iraq rejects human rights group claims of restricting Yazidi movement ...
Kurdistan Regional Government High Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports released a statement to respond to the Human Rights Watch Publication titled “Iraq: KRG Restrictions Harm Yezidi Recovery”.

On the 4th of December 2016, Human Rights Watch released a publication regarding the alleged “restrictions on the movement of goods into and out of the district of Sinjar” through the several Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) security checkpoints.

The head of the KRG High Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports, Dindar Zebari, stated that on several occasions, elements of the international community have accused KRG of restricting the movement of civilians into and out of the previously controlled KRG areas into the newly liberated areas by the Peshmerga forces.

However, in reality, the real justifications for these measures are related to security precautions, and specifically in a number of areas which are of prime security concern.

The main reason for these security measures are intended to protect the stability of the Kurdistan Region and all its citizenry, including the large number of displaced individuals who have sought refuge in the Kurdistan Region Zebari said, stating that the security forces of the region have been equally treating the Sinjar residents.

With regards to the security measures in place at the Suhaila Bridge crossing which has been referred to in the Human Rights Publication, Zebari stressed that the reason why some goods have not been allowed to enter the Sinjar district is due to the fear of it being transported to the Islamic State (IS) militants in southern Sinjar and other IS-held areas to assist them in their efforts.

Some of the goods which have not been allowed to enter through the checkpoint into the Sinjar district include elements which may be used in bomb-making such as ammonia and chlorine which are purportedly used as fertiliser agents in agricultural endeavours.

However, other goods such as cement, steel poles, and livestock are permitted to enter the district based on individual citizenry needs.

Moreover, some goods are not permitted to leave Sinjar due to the fear that these possessions being looted from the uninhabited areas and homes in the district. On an administrative basis, there are difficulties in proving that these belongings have not been looted and belong to the individual trying to cross the Suhaila Bridge crossing and into the Duhok province such as livestock, TVs, and other house-hold appliances ...
Canada (as of last week, anyway):  we're working on it (but can't say anything right now) ...
John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship confirmed that the federal government developed a plan to save Yazidi women and girls in Iraq and Lebanon and resettle them Canada. However, he was reluctant to reveal the details of this plan because on security reasons.

The following are excerpts from the debate in Parliament on Tuesday, December 13, 2016:

MP Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill, CPC):

    “Mr. Speaker, it has been nearly two months since the House passed a motion to bring Yazidi women and girls to Canada. Today, the European Parliament honoured Nadia Murad for her work on this particular issue.

    “After countless hours of committee study and further follow-up, the government has still not produced a number as to how many of these women it is willing to bring to Canada. NGOs and departments are waiting for this information.

    “Therefore, I have a very simple question that I hope the minister will answer prior to Christmas break. I hope he will do it right now. How many Yazidi women and girls is the government going to bring to Canada?”

John McCallum (Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.):

    “Mr. Speaker, we have been working very actively on a two-part strategy. We will bring Yazidi people, women and girls, from Turkey and Lebanon. We have also sent groups of officials into Iraq to consider, and we will bring them from that country as well.

    “The member should understand this is an extremely dangerous part of the world, and so we cannot release the details of our plan, but we are committed to do it and to do it on time.” ...
Another bump in the road ...
The Immigration Department says Canada remains committed to resettle Yazidi survivors by its Feb. 22 deadline despite a new complication: the closure of a key humanitarian group working to identify and screen women and girls in greatest need of protection.

Yazda, a non-governmental organization working in Iraq and other regions to help Yazidi survivors of sexual slavery, abuse and torture by ISIS, was shut down by the Kurdistan Regional Government * on Jan. 2.

Executive director Murad Ismael was shocked by the sudden shutdown that left more than 600 traumatized women and girls without therapy, support and medical services.

"There are people who need this help, and we cannot work. We cannot deliver them the help," he told CBC News in an interview from Erbil, Iraq.

Documentation and outreach programs have also been suspended. The group was told it was being shut down for engaging in political activities, but Ismael denies that allegation and has received some assurance the group will be able to resume operations.

But he doesn't know if or when that could happen ...
* - That's the group of Kurds Canada is backing.

From the Kurd government's perspective ...
The reason behind banning the Yezidi so called Yazda Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) in the Kurdistan Region was its involvement in political activities while it was allowed only to offer humanitarian services, said a Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) official on Friday.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently released a report stating that the KRG has closed down “a prominent nongovernmental organization supporting the Yezidi religious minority.” It also stated that shutting down the NGO “for unspecified reasons and at a time of growing humanitarian need has quickly sent a shudder through Iraq’s humanitarian community.”

Dindar Zebari, head of the KRG’s High Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports, posted on his official Twitter account that the closing down of Duhok-based Yazda organization was due to divergence from its "main mandate which is supposed to be humanitarian services.”

The Kurdistan Region-based Yazda office in Duhok province has been delivering humanitarian assistance to the Kurdish Yezidis affected by the atrocities of the Islamic State (IS).

“Representatives of the Yazda NGO were requested to stop carry[ing out] political activities, but in contrary [they] continued to ignore requests,” Zebari stated ...
... and from at least one other Kurd within the system:
The closure of Yazda, a Yezidi-focused rights organization by the local government in Duhok was illegal, a senior Kurdish official has told Rudaw English, while defending an earlier claim that the organization had been involved in “political activities” which violated regulations on NGO work.

Akram Jamo, director of the Kurdish Department of NGOs, said on Thursday that it is not up to the provincial government to close the offices of an NGO, explaining that his office was the sole authority to take such action based on court orders.

He said there was no such court ruling in this case, adding that his department’s legal team will inform the Kurdish authorities on this matter sometime today or the next business day.

Yazda said on Monday that security forces (Asayish) had shut down their Duhok office “for unknown reason,” and that “this includes all Yazda's humanitarian projects serving the Yazidi community.”

Jamo however backtracked on his previous claim that Yazda’s license had expired after the organization published a copy of its license clearly showing validity until the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, Jamo defended the position that Yazda was embroiled in political activity, such as releasing a statement in political language and accusing local authorities of treating Yezidis as “second-class citizens”.

International organizations must abide by local laws and their own bylaws a copy of which they have to send to the government’s department of NGOs, which Yazda violated by publishing a political statement, said Jamo.

For his part, Yazda’s executive director Murad Ismael told Rudaw English on Wednesday that the decision to close their office in Kurdistan was “not legal, not fair, and politically motivated.”

In a statement published Wednesday Yazda denied engaging in political activities or that they operated under an expired license.

Members of the organization called for “international mediators” such as the US and the EU to help it open channels of communication with the Kurdish authorities to resolve the issue ...

Finally, this from the organization itself earlier this week:
Yazda, a global organisation representing the Yazidi community in the Middle East, has called for immediate talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, following the withdrawal by the KRG of its license to operate programmes in support of internally displaced persons.

Over the past two years, Yazda has provided support to Yazidi victims of genocide in the aftermath of August 3, 2014 attack by ISIS on the Sinjar region, which displaced hundreds of thousands of people. The license was renewed only last November, and includes a pyscho-social programme supporting Yazidi woman who escaped captivity, a social care programme supporting more than 600 women and children, two medical clinics serving over 250 patients a day, a documentation programme and an outreach programme to support returnees to Sinjar.

KRG security forces suddenly ordered closure of Yazda centers and all its programmes on Monday January 2nd. . Its NGO department said the decision was based on allegations that Yazda has not “abided by the laws”, had practiced “political activities” and that “licenses were expired”. Yazda refutes these allegations and demands that its centers and programs reopen immediately.

Mr Haider Elias, Yazda President said “we are working to open communication channels with international and local sides to seek immediate international mediators to meet the KRG leadership, Minister of Interior and their NGOs department to discuss the crisis. “Yazda would like to find an acceptable legal solution through mutual respect. We believe that the USA and EU can play a vital role in this regard “Yazda is not a political organization, however it advocates for the rights of Yazidis internationally, Yazda was established to prevent future genocides after the vicious assaults committed by ISIS after August 3 2014. Advocating and highlighting this cause in all international norms cannot be translated as “political activities”, we are extremely surprised that our work is now being labeled by KRG in this way. “We request to see and discuss claims of “proof” that Yazda has done political activities and any other alleged evidence of wrong doing. Yazda licenses to work in the KRG are fully up to date, we attach the copy of Yazda formal registration by the KRG, renewed less than two months ago on November 16 last ...
New immigration minister says they'll be coming soon ...
Canada will meet its commitment to bring an unspecified number of persecuted Yazidis to Canada by late February, according to the federal government's new immigration minister.

In an interview with CBC News Network's Power & Politics, newly minted Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen said his government would soon provide a detailed update on its Yazidi efforts.

"We intend to fully meet that commitment," Hussen told host Rosemary Barton. "That is still on track and we will make sure that we communicate the ongoing nature of the meeting of that commitment in due course." 

The minister said he could not provide details now, because doing so could possibly endanger Canadian staff on the ground working with Yazidis ...
The latest as the clock ticks ...
The Liberal government is set to unveil its resettlement plan for Yazidi victims of ISIS, but as a one-week deadline looms, critics are keeping expectations low.

On Oct. 25, MPs unanimously adopted a Conservative motion to formally declare ISIS persecution of Yazidis a genocide and promised to bring refugees fleeing the violence to Canada within four months.

With the days counting down, critics have little hope the federal government will deliver on that pledge in a significant way.

​Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel understands the logistical challenges with the operation, but said the government is not moving with the same urgency as it did with the Syrian refugees.

"They've had four months. They've brought none in to date," she said.

An official in the office of Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Sunday afternoon it is not accurate to say no Yazidis have been brought over, but would provide no details before the minister's update ...
And here we have it, via the Immigration Canada info-machine:
Canada plans to welcome approximately 1200 survivors of Daesh this year, including vulnerable Yazidi women and children and their families, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Minister Ahmed Hussen announced today.

It is expected that nearly 400 government-assisted refugees will have arrived by February 22, 2017, which is 120 days from the date of the motion passed by the House of Commons last fall.

Canada is working with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), with the cooperation and support of the Iraqi government, to identify vulnerable Yazidi and other survivors of Daesh both inside and outside of Iraq. While neither Canada nor the UNHCR makes selection decisions on the basis of religion or ethnicity alone, it is expected the majority of the 1200 Canada will welcome will be Yazidi. While vulnerable women and children are being identified, the total includes their family members in order to keep families together.

In addition to the 1200 government-assisted refugees Canada will welcome, we are also facilitating the private sponsorship of individuals who fall within this vulnerable group. More Yazidi and other survivors of Daesh will arrive in Canada as privately sponsored refugees.

All individuals will have an immigration and security interview by an experienced visa officer, comprehensive security screening and biometric checks as well as medical exams. As part of the screening process, additional work is being done to identify settlement needs.

These individuals have experienced severe trauma, thus coordination with the settlement community in Canada is underway to ensure that settlement services are available to meet the particularly acute needs of those we are welcoming.

The estimated cost for this initiative is $28 million ...
More details in the backgrounder, and in initial MSM coverage here.
I wonder how the remaining Yazdi treat the women and children that were sexually assaulted by Daesh? It is a heavily honour based society, but also have had traumatic upheaval. If they can't be accepted there, then yes bring them, but if they can rebuild there and the ones who were assaulted can still be accepted, then support that rebuilding in place. Bringing the most serious traumatized ones here, would only be the beginning of a long hard road requiring a lot of professional and government assistance. At the same time removing them from any existing support network. Not a good recipe generally. 
Shit it is still a stigma in our secular society, what makes you think their society is more forgiving and accepting? In a lot of cases it is probably better to move and start over
Yazidi groups say they were left in the dark on Canada's resettlement plan

Tight-knit Yazidi communities are clustered primarily in Winnipeg and London, Ont.

Yazidi groups in Canada say they've been kept in the dark on the government's resettlement plan despite the critical role they could play in supporting the new arrivals.

On Tuesday, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen held a news conference to unveil a government plan to resettle 1,200 Yazidis and other victims of ISIS by the end of 2017, saying that nearly 400 had already arrived. Of those, about 74 per cent are Yazidi.

The Yazidis are a religious minority with an ancient 6,000-year-old culture, based mainly in northern Iraq.

Hadji Hesso of the Canadian Yazidi Association is part of a close-knit network of advocates who keep in regular contact. He says he did not hear of any government-sponsored arrivals before the last few days.

Lorne Weiss, of Operation Ezra, a Winnipeg-based organization that privately sponsors Yazidi refugees, was baffled about why those helping Yazidis on the front line were shut out of the federal process.

"We have no way of knowing where those people are or how they were brought in. It's a mystery to us," he said ...
This from The Canadian Press:
Yazidi refugee effort proof that government listens and can work: Ambrose

Efforts underway to give asylum to 1,200 primarily Yazidi refugees by year end should help bolster people's confidence in government, says Interim Opposition leader Rona Ambrose.

At a time when people are losing faith in democratic institutions, the ability of opposition and government to come together to do what was right for Yazidis is proof the system can work, she said.

"It was the right thing to do, and it wasn't the government's agenda, but Canadians spoke, the opposition spoke, there was a moral authority issue here as well," Ambrose said.

"And democracy worked in this instance."

Ambrose made the comments in an interview with The Canadian Press on the sidelines of a conservative conference in Ottawa this weekend grappling with the question of populism and politics.

A key theme has been ensuring governments aren't just promoting their own agendas, but also listening directly to the people.

Ambrose said the fact that the Opposition were able to put forward a motion to bring 400 Yazidis to Canada and convince the Liberals to come on side was proof government does listen.

She called the failure of Canada to do more for the minority Kurdish sect in the past an oversight, but acknowledged refugee issues were not as much on her radar when the Conservatives were in government ...
The partisan "hater's headline" could also be:  "Conservative Leader Admits Yazidi Refugees "not on radar" for Then-Ruling Tories -- Ambrose Calls Tory Inaction "Oversight" "  >:D
Some of the latest from one of the arrivals ...
In a dark hallway of a London, Ont., motel, a young Yazidi woman and her husband's uncle explain how he raised $26,000 to buy her freedom from the ISIS captors who had forced her into sex slavery.

As she holds her restless son, the woman in her 30s speaks softly, recounting her time in captivity in Syria after being snatched from her home in the Sinjar region of Iraq. For two and a half years, she was passed from one ISIS member to the next — beaten, tortured and used as a sex slave.

Bhasa (not her real name), who arrived in Canada as a refugee two weeks ago, says her freedom came after her ISIS captors decided to sell her to her family. Through intermediaries, contact was made with her husband's uncle in Iraq, who went about raising money to pay the ransom.

"I cannot describe the feeling," said the uncle, who, like Bhasa, asked not to be identified. "Very good feeling that at last I found one of the family members that we could bring back with money.

"We had a car; we sold it. Whatever we had, we sold. Some in the community went around to collect money for them."

He said he was able to buy his nephew's wife's freedom in July 2016. Once free, Bhasa and three of her children made their way to a refugee camp in the Kurdish region of Iraq, where they lived until they, along with the uncle, were able to leave for Canada ...
Different views on whether Canada's doing enough via the NATO Association of Canada ...

Phil Rafalko – Program Editor, International Business and Economics

The relative lack of attention to Yazidi refugees compared to those from Syria gives us room to be skeptical ...

Mark Jarratt – Program Editor, Canada’s NATO

I believe Canada is doing enough by resettling 1,200 Yazidis. Canada has taken in roughly 40,000 refugees from Iraq and Syria in the last year or so, and our generosity has led to a backlog in the immigration system ...

Farah Bogani – Program Editor, NATO’s Arc of Crisis

The decision is a victory for one of the most vulnerable minority groups facing persecution. However, the genocide has yet to inspire serious international action ...
More on link
Colin P said:
I wonder how the remaining Yazdi treat the women and children that were sexually assaulted by Daesh? It is a heavily honour based society, but also have had traumatic upheaval. If they can't be accepted there, then yes bring them, but if they can rebuild there and the ones who were assaulted can still be accepted, then support that rebuilding in place. Bringing the most serious traumatized ones here, would only be the beginning of a long hard road requiring a lot of professional and government assistance. At the same time removing them from any existing support network. Not a good recipe generally.

Don't forget that at least 500 former sex slaves who escaped formed a battalion known as the "Sun Women", hell bent on revenge. Kurdish women also regularly engage as fighters against ISIS, and in the other battles against the various oppressors in the region (they were fighting against the Hussein regime in Iraq as far back as the 1980s).

Being able and willing to take up arms to defend your rights is probably going to be one of the big drivers of cultural change in the region.
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