More than 250 Afghan refugees, many of them young girls, arrive in Calgary

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A plane carrying more than 250 Afghan refugees arrived in Calgary on Friday afternoon.

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The more than 200 arrivals are students of girls’ school in Afghanistan as well as other members of their community. There are also about 50 other refugees, including individuals associated with the Malala Fund, an education non-profit founded by Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. On Friday, Ms. Yousafzai thank you tweeted To help the Government of Canada ensure their safety.

Refugees were able to go to Afghanistan via underground routes to neighboring Pakistan to escape the country now under Taliban rule. Although he took off in Calgary, he would move to the cities of Saskatchewan and Manitoba to begin a new phase of his life.

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“Their arrival in Canada means they will have the opportunity to build a new home where they can do their studies,” Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said in an interview. “They can achieve their full potential here in Canada.”

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According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the group arriving on Friday joined more than 2,600 Afghan refugees who have already arrived in Canada, and about 1,200 other Afghans still waiting in “transit points around the world”. Huh. The Canadian government has pledged to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees.

Taliban forces swiftly regained control of Afghanistan this summer, and have closed secondary schools for girls since taking power. Canada’s target of 40,000 resettled refugees, up from an initial target of 20,000, focuses on vulnerable populations, including women and girls.

Although the ministry did not provide a timeline for when all 40,000 would arrive in Canada, Mr Mendicino said the government was “acting as diligently as possible.” He said it is difficult to provide a specific timeline because the situation in Afghanistan is so volatile and unpredictable, but added that the government is working to issue visas and partner with regional and international partners to help people move out of the country. can get help.

“We fully acknowledge that there are challenges, but we are doing everything in our power to advance the rehabilitation objectives we have set,” he said.

Fariborz Birjandian, CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, waited at Calgary airport Friday afternoon for a plane carrying 250 refugees to land. Mr Birjandian said his organization has helped about 200 Afghans who have come to the city in recent weeks. He was at the airport with about 25 members of his staff, all ready to assist the refugees upon their arrival, including helping them get through security and getting tested for COVID-19.

He said some refugees would then board other flights to Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but about 70 to 80 people would stay overnight in Calgary.

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“We provide them with winter clothing to make sure they are not shocked by the Canadian weather,” said Mr Birjandian, adding that his organization is ready to provide food and necessary medical aid as well as transport where Some people will stay Night.

In addition to prioritizing women and girls, Canada’s Afghan resettlement program also focuses on other individuals from groups who are at high risk of being targeted by the Taliban. This includes human rights advocates and journalists, as well as members of the LGBTQ community, persecuted religious groups, and families of interpreters already settled in Canada. The program includes both government-aided refugees and those arriving through private sponsorship.

Find out what’s happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary, handpicked by Granthshala editors (clients only). .

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