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Canada sets January 31 as target date to receive refugees

By Muath Freij - Dec 02,2015 - Last updated at Dec 02,2015

AMMAN – The Canadian government is making the necessary arrangements “and working very hard” to transport 10,000 refugees from the region to Canada by the end of next month, Canadian Ambassador to Jordan Bruno Saccomani said.

He said in remarks to The Jordan Times that the process, which is facilitated by Jordan as the point of departure, involves refugees currently hosted by the Kingdom, Lebanon and Turkey, while travel arrangements will be made for another 15,000 Syrians by the end of February.

"What is most important to remember about all of this is that there have not been numbers assigned to anyone [meaning Jordan, Turkey or Lebanon]. I think it is wise for us to look at three different locations but I can tell you that the support we are getting from the organisations in Jordan would allow us to satisfy our government's requests… This could have never happened without the support of Jordan," he told The Jordan Times in an interview at the embassy in Amman on Wednesday. 

The Canadian government announced earlier that it intends to host 25,000 Syrian refugees from the three said countries in coordination with UNHCR. 

Saccomani said as Jordan has shouldered a huge burden in the aftermath of the Syrian crisis, his government has decided to try to do its share in helping these neighbours of Syria.

"As an ambassador to Jordan, I have seen the effects of the influx of the Syrian refugees not only on the economy but also on the infrastructure within the communities of Jordan because all of us know that a very large number of Syrian refugees are actually not in the camps; they are in the cities and towns, and that is why Canada felt that it is important to participate in this endeavour," the diplomat added. 

He noted that the selection process will target the most vulnerable Syrian refugees and the people that have been affected the most by the crisis, especially families.

He noted any refugee who is registered by UNHCR could be selected whether they are in camps or in host communities.

“It is not about the location; it is about us trying to select the most vulnerable families.” 

He stressed that once the families or individuals are selected for their project, they will be invited to go to their processing facility where they will be interviewed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). 

“Then there is a whole other array of background checks and verifications that are being done at the centre itself so what we are trying to do is to frontload all the requirements that a normal person would have if they want to come to Canada so that when they do come to Canada, there is a minimum of bureaucratic operations left to do,” Saccomani said, adding that he has no specific dates for departure.  

It is a big task to have 10,000 people transported during the holiday season, he said, noting that the Canadian government has  partnered with the IOM to help it accomplish the mission.  

“Most of the landings will be in Montreal and Toronto and there are 36 cities across Canada that will host them, so you need support from the community, and from the government and private sector,” the envoy added.    

Asked about whether there are concerns from the Canadian people following the terrorist incidents that took place in Paris recently, Saccomani said refugees will find in Canada the support systems and the willingness of the Canadian population to receive them.  


“My parents immigrated to Canada and it is a country of immigration. Our strength lies in our diversity and in accepting people from all over the world to make Canada what it is and I think that as this progresses, Canadians will see the advantage of doing this,” he added.  

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