Canada to reject single male Syrian refugees

  • 24/11/2015
(AAP)
(AAP)

Canada will accept only whole families, lone women or children in its mass resettlement of Syrian refugees while unaccompanied men, considered a security risk, will be turned away.

Since the Paris attacks launched by Syria-linked jihadists, a plan by new leader Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to fast-track the intake of 25,000 refugees by year's end has faced growing criticism in Canada.

Details of the plan will be announced on Tuesday (local time) but Canada's ambassador to Jordan confirmed that refugees from camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey will be flown to Canada from Jordan starting December 1.

Speaking in Jordan on Monday, ambassador Bruno Saccomani said the operation would cost an estimated CAN$1.2 billion, the official Petra news agency reported.

According to Canadian public broadcaster CBC, the resettlement plan will not extend to unaccompanied men.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard seemed to corroborate that report ahead of a meeting with Trudeau and Canada's provincial leaders where the refugee plan was high on the agenda.

"All these refugees are vulnerable but some are more vulnerable than others, for example, women, families and also members of religious minorities who are oppressed," he said, although he rejected the notion of "exclusion" of single men.

Faisal Alazem of the Syrian Canadian Council, a non-profit group in talks with the government to sponsor refugees, told Radio-Canada of the plans: "It's a compromise."

"This is not the ideal scenario to protect vulnerable people – women and children and men too. But I think what happened in Paris has really changed the dynamic and public opinion," he said.

A recent poll suggests that 54 percent of Canadians now oppose the accelerated timeline.

Opposition New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair, however, warned against casting too large a safety net.

"Will a young man, who lost both parents, be excluded from the refugee program?" he said. "Will a gay man who is escaping persecution be excluded? Will a widower who is fleeing Daesh after having seen his family killed be excluded?" he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

AFP