Afghan human rights defenders arrive in Canada

OTTAWA, ON, January 11, 2022 / CNW / – For 20 years, Canadians have worked alongside Afghan nationals to improve security, democracy and human rights in Afghanistan. Now Canada welcomes people who face risks because of this vitally important work.

The Honorable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced the arrival at Canada more than 250 Afghan refugees, including 170 human rights defenders, as government-assisted refugees. Canada has a long and proud tradition of defending human rights at home and abroad. In July 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has launched an immigration component for human rights defenders, Canada one of the few countries in the world to have a permanent immigration program dedicated to those who protect and promote human rights.

The work of human rights defenders is essential to promote and protect the human rights of people around the world, and too often they put their own lives at risk. Many of those arriving today have worked for decades documenting human rights violations in Afghanistan and intend to continue their work in Canada with the help of Canadian and international non-governmental organizations.

This latter group of arrivals is part of from Canada humanitarian engagement to welcome vulnerable Afghan refugees, including women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted religious or ethnic minorities, LGBTI people, journalists and those who have assisted Canadian journalists. The comprehensive humanitarian program from Canada special immigration program for Afghans who worked for Canada during and after our military mission. Until now, Canada hosted approximately 6,750 Afghan nationals as part of the government’s commitment to resettle Afghan nationals.

In the coming days, these new refugees will be welcomed into their host communities and will be quarantined with the support of local service provider organizations as they begin their new lives in Canada.

The government of Canada works with Front Line Defenders and ProtectDefenders, alongside other Canadian and international partners, including the United Nations Refugee Agency, to identify human rights defenders who face security risks and need help. ” to be resettled, and to find solutions for human rights defenders in need of protection.

IRCC’s Refugee Resettlement Program plays a key role in resettling vulnerable people across the country and ensuring they have what they need to live and thrive in their new communities. This includes helping them find permanent accommodation and providing them with information on finding a job, improving their language skills and living in Canada in general.


“It is a privilege to welcome today this cohort of Afghan refugees, who face persecution for their work to protect the human rights of others. Canada is one of the few countries in the world that has a dedicated program that provides a safe haven for vulnerable human rights defenders, and I am grateful for their work in documenting and preventing human rights violations and I am proud that ‘they have now taken up residence in our country. “

– The Honorable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Fast facts:

  • The latest data on newly arrived Afghan refugees is available on our Key Figures page.
  • Human rights defenders are people who, individually or in association with others, promote or struggle in a non-violent manner for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national or international level.
  • Human rights defenders face persecution by state and non-state actors, including arbitrary arrests, detentions, threats, torture, enforced disappearances and assassinations.
  • In 2019, Canada launched new guidelines on supporting human rights defenders called “Voices in Danger”.

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SOURCE Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

For further information: Media contacts only: Vincent Hughes, Minister’s Office, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 613-954-1064, [email protected]; Media Relations, Communications Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 613-952-1650, [email protected]

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