ProtectDefenders.eu welcomes Canadian Government plan for protecting HRDs through resettlement options

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The Consortium of international civil society organisations implementing the EU HRD mechanism, ProtectDefenders.eu, 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 have fled persecution in their home countries. This dedicated, permanent pathway for HRDs will resettle up to 250 defenders per year, including their family members.

ProtectDefenders.eu and Front Line Defenders, alongside other Canadian and international partners, including UNHCR, will contribute to identify HRDs who are at risk and in need of resettlement and to find solutions for HRDs in need of protection.

“We all need to support human rights defenders to exercise their right to defend rights in their communities, but we also owe them practical protection in those dire situations when they cannot return to their countries,” said Gerald Staberock, chairman of the board of ProtectDefenders.eu and secretary-general of the World Organisation Against Torture, in a statement.

“The ability to provide safe resettlement options with the support of Canada is excellent news for ProtectDefenders.eu, and we are looking forward to our partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.” — Gerald Staberock, chairman of the board of ProtectDefenders.eu

The announcement made by the Government of Canada marks the beginning of the cooperation for the implementation of this dedicated stream, which will be operational in the coming months. ProtectDefenders.eu will ensure that adequate, transparent, and fair procedures are in place to identify those HRDs who are most-at-risk and who can avail of this resettlement programme.

For more information, please contact canada-program@protectdefenders.eu