In response to the Afghan crisis, the Canadian government promised to settle up to 40,000 Afghan refugees. It also committed to fast-track Afghan asylum requests, stating it would give priority to women leaders, human rights advocates, persecuted religious minorities and others.
But months later, there are still no details about the Canadian government’s Afghan resettlement plan or the expedited process.
How will Afghan refugees be selected? How many will be sponsored by the government? How many by churches and community groups? How long will this expedited process take? There are many questions, but few answers.
In October, the Afghan ambassador urged the Canadian government to bolster staff in diplomatic posts in Pakistan and other neighbouring countries to help expedite the Afghan exodus.
And many Canadian individuals and groups concerned about the Afghan crisis also are urging action. In an Open Letter to the Prime Minister ‘s Office, they expressed frustration with the process stating few of the “at risk” Afghans identified in the Canada’s Special Immigration Program have been evacuated to Canada, and a very large number remain in grave danger.”
They urged the Canadian government to show political leadership by recognizing the Afghan crisis is a “prima facie refugee situation.”
The letter’s signatories also want the government to waive the requirement for Afghan refugees to have UNHCR registration in order to be sponsored by Groups of Five. And they say significantly more staff are needed to process Afghan refugee requests for asylum.