point of interest

Canada to accept 810 refugees from Myanmar

Last Updated Tue, 20 Jun 2006 08:51:26 EDT

Canada marked World Refugee Day on Tuesday by announcing it will welcome more than 800 refugees from Myanmar later this year.

Immigration Minister Monte Solberg and Jahanshah Assadi, a representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, made the announcement in a joint statement.

“Welcoming these refugees, who have endured a prolonged state of limbo in terrible conditions, is in the best humanitarian tradition of Canada,” said Solberg.

“As Canadians we look forward to helping them rebuild secure lives and join our society.”

The group of 810 refugees belong to the Karen ethnic group, and are among an estimated 140,000 refugees from Myanmar who are confined in a camp in Thailand.

The UN identified 13,000 people from that camp’s population who were in need of resettlement. The majority fled to Thailand in 1995 following an offensive by Myanmar’s government against the Karen population.

According to the agency, many have been subjected to torture, imprisonment and forced labour.

The United States, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Britain and the Netherlands will also accept refugees from Myanmar.

Canada has marked World Refugee Day in past years by accepting refugees from Afghanistan and Somalia.

Copyright ©2006 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – All Rights Reserved

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