ontario news watch

Canada to have new refugee stream for journalists, others who defend human rights

OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Marco Mendocino says there will be a new path to Canada for refugees who fear persecution because of their defence of human rights.

The new stream will include anyone facing persecution for advocating or defending human rights with a special emphasis on journalists, women and advocates for LGBTQ and two-spirit people.

Mendocino says we live in a world where human rights and democracy are “under siege.”

He says most people think of refugees who are displaced from their homelands by conflict and war, but those who bear witness to those tragedies, or advocate for human rights, can also risk arrest, torture and death.

Canada’s new stream will be open to up to 250 human-rights defenders a year, including members of their families.

Canada is partnering with the United Nations Refugee Agency and international organizations such as Front Line Defenders and ProtectDefenders.eu, which specialize in aiding people who face threats because of their work to defend rights around the world.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press