Canada Welcomes Over 750 Ex-slaves from Libya as Refugees

Ahmed Hussen in Toronto on Jan. 14 2019

Ahmed Hussen in Toronto on Jan. 14 2019

"As Canada takes more refugees, including Libyan refugees, it is important to remind other countries of their own commitments under the 1951 Refugee Convention and the need to respect the principle of responsibility sharing, which is one of the new norms of the refugee compact which Canada and other countries have just signed", said Fen Osler Hampson, the executive director of the Canadian-led World Refugee Council.

More than 150 people have been resettled and another 600 more are expected over the next two years through the regular refugee settlement program, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Wednesday. Most of these migrants are at risk for human trafficking. The minister pointed out that some of them have already arrived to Canada."Canadians always welcome newcomers, and this has helped to protect those fleeing persecution, terror and war", Hussen added.

The UN request came after a video that appeared to show smugglers selling imprisoned migrants near Tripoli became public in 2017. We are also taking action to resettle 100 refugees from Niger, rescued from Libyan migrant detention centres, including victims of human smuggling.

Libya is a stopping point for migrants on their way to Europe.

Ahmed Hussen said that Canada would eventually welcome "a lot" of Libyans, and he hopes that Canada will extent warm welcomes to the new immigrants. Five European countries, Germany, France, Portugal, Romania and Malta, have offered to take them in after a political impasse left them stranded aboard the boat of the coast of Sicily.

Volunteers ready United States aid set for Venezuela as Maduro digs in
Trucks loaded with humanitarian aid for Venezuela arrive at Cucuta border on February 7, 2018. Around 800,000 Venezuelans are said to have crossed the border and settled in Colombia.

A government official said Canada did not announce the 150 who arrived past year prior to now because the resettlement was not done under a special program akin to what was done for Syrian and Yazidi refugees.

The influx of immigrants from Africa has sparked a backlash in many parts of Europe as well as in some parts of Canada. Italy's new government, for example, no longer allows ships to bring rescued migrants to their shores.

Canada resettled almost 47,000 refugees from Syria in 2016 and over 1,200 Yazidi refugees from Iraq in 2018.

This news comes as the ambivalence of several European countries towards immigrants has led to some risky situations for migrants.

Since January 2018, it is estimated that at least 2,500 men, women and children have drowned in the Mediterranean attempting to get to Europe.

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