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e-3750 (Citizenship and immigration)

E-petition
Initiated by Khalidha Nasiri from Toronto, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • The Taliban takeover has led to increased violence, persecution, human rights abuses, and other violations in Afghanistan, especially against women, girls, vulnerable ethnic and religious groups including Hazaras, the LGBTQ+ community, and human rights advocates;
  • The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan continues to escalate to unprecedented levels of poverty, food insecurity, economic instability, lack of basic health services, and internal displacement;
  • The Government of Canada has committed to resettling 40,000 Afghan refugees; and,
  • The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship is empowered by legislation to allow refugee protection on a person in exceptional circumstances.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Use its granted powers to expedite resettlement processes to meet the quota of 40,000 Afghan refugees within 6-9 months, and commit to 95,000 over 24 months;
2. Remove barriers resulting from allocation limits imposed on Sponsorship Agreement Holders and expand the category of relatives of Afghan-Canadians eligible to be sponsored;
3. Allow applications from those internally displaced within Afghanistan through assigning Temporary Residence Permits, and assign Afghan refugees prima facie status; and
4. Consult with the Afghan-Canadian community and stakeholders on a regular and substantive basis in Canada's ongoing efforts towards Afghan refugee resettlement and humanitarian assistance.

Response by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Marie-France Lalonde, M.P.

The Government of Canada remains firmly committed to resettling at least 40,000 Afghan refugees. Canada’s commitment exceeds that of most of our like-minded partners and reinforces Canada’s global leadership in the resettlement of refugees. IRCC continues to work hard on resettling vulnerable people from Afghanistan, including facilitation of safe passage where possible, with an emphasis on individuals who supported Canada and our allies over the past two decades, women, LGBTQ2 people, human rights defenders, journalists and members of religious and ethnic minorities and their families. Since the crisis in Afghanistan began, IRCC has allocated significant resources and mobilized its global network to prioritize applications from vulnerable Afghans and to process them as quickly as possible. As of February 15, 7,885 Afghan nationals had arrived in Canada: 4,600 under the Special Immigration Measures, and 3,285 under the humanitarian program. While these efforts are underway, Canada continues to resettle vulnerable persons from other populations, including victims of protracted conflicts in Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America.

The Government is prioritizing the processing of privately sponsored Afghan refugees, from both existing inventory, and new submissions from Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs).  The annual SAH allocations have been increased to allow SAHs to sponsor additional Afghan refugees.

In December 2021, IRCC launched a special family reunification program to help extended family members of former Afghan interpreters who came to Canada under programs in 2009 and 2012. This program aims to facilitate family reunification of these vulnerable groups. Canada is also prioritizing applications of eligible immediate family members joining Afghans currently in Canada.

IRCC has been working closely with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in order to identify Afghan refugees in need of resettlement to Canada. However, it remains extremely difficult to facilitate the exit of Afghan nationals from Afghanistan and many at-risk Afghans remain in Afghanistan and are unable to leave. IRCC is working closely with other countries and stakeholders in the region to secure new partnerships and address constraints that limit the mobility of vulnerable groups.

The Government of Canada has had significant and ongoing engagement with Afghan-Canadian community and stakeholders, particularly in terms of resettlement. IRCC is partnering with organizations such as Front Line Defenders and ProtectDefenders.eu., along with the UNHCR to identify vulnerable Afghans who are most at need for resettlement. IRCC is also engaging with dozens of organizations from civil society and the private sectorwho are ready and willing to support new Afghan families via temporary accommodations, volunteer offers, monetary donations, in-kind donations of goods and services and possible job opportunities.

All key statistics, updated regularly, and further information on the above-mentioned initiatives, may be found on IRCC’s website at https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/refugees/afghanistan/key-figures.html

Open for signature
December 15, 2021, at 3:14 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
January 14, 2022, at 3:14 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Heather McPherson (Edmonton Strathcona)
February 15, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00187)
Government response tabled
March 31, 2022
Photo - Heather McPherson
Edmonton Strathcona
New Democratic Party Caucus
Alberta
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