Canada To Take In More Karen Refugees

Canada to take in more Karen refugees

June 19, 2008

OTTAWA (AFP) Canada will welcome an additional 1,300 Karen refugees from the Thai-Myanmar border, Immigration Minister Diane Finley said Thursday.

Since 2006, Canada has accepted 2,600 Karens for resettlement. The newest arrivals, expected later this year through 2009, are relatives of the first wave of refugees.

“Canada continues to welcome the Karen refugees who have been living under some of the world's most difficult conditions for many years,” Finley said in a statement.

“Canada is a blessed nation by almost any standard and Canadians should be proud that we are able to help those who most need it. By working together, we will be able to offer protection to more than 3,900 Karen refugees from some of the most remote camps in Thailand.”

Almost 140,000 Karen refugees have been living in Thai refugee camps for up to 20 years.

The minority ethnic group fled their country in 1995 following a major offensive by the Myanmar government army against the Karen National Union.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) identified Karen refugees as being in desperate need of protection and called on nations to help in resettling them.

Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Britain and the Netherlands have responded to the call.