Yazidi communities in Canada claim they weren’t told of the government’s plans to resettle 1200 Yazidi victims of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) by the end of 2017.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced the plans at press conference Tuesday. The Yazidis are a 6,000 year old sect based in Northern Iraq. They have been ISIS targets.
400 Yazidis have already arrived. Lorne Weiss works with a group called Operation Ezra, which, privately sponsors refugees. He finds himself confused by the exclusion of those on the front lines. “We have no way of knowing where those people are, or how they were brought in. It’s a mystery to us,” he told the CBC. The federal government has only said the Yazidis are to settle in Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba.
Hadji Hesso of the Canadian Yazidi Association questions the government’s methods. “We are a small minority, almost everyone knows everyone,” he said.
Geoffrey Clarfield, Executive Director of Mozuud questioned the apparent need for secrecy. “The understanding of the government is that they’re supposed to be integrated into the community so if the community leaders don’t know who they are and where they are, it’s puzzling,” he said in an interview on Power & Politics.
The presence of family here in Canada was a factor in determining where the refugees would be settled. The federal government declared ISIS persecution of the Yazidis a genocide. The United Nations confirmed it as a genocide saying it meets the criteria for a definition established under the 1948 Genocide Convention.