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15 July 2021

Front Line Defenders Welcomes Canadian Government Plan for Protecting HRDs Through Resettlement Option

Front Line Defenders welcomes the announcement on 16 July 2021 by the Government of Canada and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco E.L. Mendicino, of the launch of a dedicated refugee stream to provide a safe haven for human rights defenders (HRDs) at risk who are refugees and have fled persecution in their home countries.

Canada will become one of the first countries to offer a dedicated, permanent pathway for HRDs.

The Government of Canada and UNHCR will implement this scheme and have agree to work with Front Line Defenders and ProtectDefenders.eu to identify HRDs who are at risk and in need of resettlement and to find solutions for HRDs in need of protection.

Speaking at the press conference, Minister Mendicino said, "Often at great personal risk, human rights defenders hold the perpetrators of torture and other human rights violations to account and shine a light on stories that would not otherwise be told. Through this new refugee stream, the Government of Canada stands with human rights defenders by offering them protection and a safe home in the face of real dangers".

Andrew Anderson, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders, noted, "Front Line Defenders welcomes the launch of a dedicated Canadian refugee stream for human rights defenders at risk and we commend the Canadian government on its leadership in this area. The vast majority of human rights defenders seek to find ways to continue doing their critical work inside their countries. However, in some extremely dangerous situations, human rights defenders are forced to flee their countries and seek asylum for safety. These defenders face unique protection challenges and this new initiative will hopefully serve as a lifeline for some of these courageous individuals who have risked everything for their peaceful human rights work".

For more information or to speak with Front Line Defenders, please contact:

Andrew Anderson
Executive Director, Front Line Defenders
canadaprogram@frontlinedefenders.org

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