Syrian refugees: discriminating by religion is unacceptable

Canadian Council for Refugees
Media Release

For immediate release
12 December 2014

Syrian Refugees: Discriminating by religion is unacceptable

The Canadian Council for Refugees reacted with shock to reports that the Canadian government may be considering restricting its commitment to resettle Syrian refugees to religious minorities.

“If true, this would be outrageous,” said Loly Rico, President. “It is completely unacceptable and, in fact, irresponsible to discriminate against refugees on the basis of religion. It goes against the fundamental principles of refugee protection. Refugees must be selected for resettlement according to need.”

The first clause in the preamble to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees underlines the principle “that human beings shall enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms without discrimination.”

The CCR continues to call on Canada to make a strong commitment to resettle Syrian refugees, with government support, and to introduce measures for Syrians with family in Canada. Refugees must be selected for resettlement on the basis of need, and without discrimination based on religion.

Canadians of Syrian origin have family members who are displaced by the conflict, irrespective of their religion. To limit resettlement to religious minorities would be to say to Muslim Canadians that their family members are not worthy.

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Colleen French, Communication Coordinator, Canadian Council for Refugees, 514-277-7223, ext. 1, (514) 602-2098 (cell),

See also the Interfaith statement on Syrian refugees