Statement by Ministers Joly, Fraser, Sajjan and Anand one year after the fall of Afghanistan

The Honorable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Honorable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, The Honorable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Canada, and the Honorable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, today issued the following statement:

“Tomorrow marks one year since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. Over the past year, we have witnessed the hardships endured by the Afghan people, with some undertaking harrowing journeys to flee the country and countless others living in fear of persecution and reprisals, and subjected to severe restrictions on human rights and freedom.

“Last year, alongside our international partners, Canada undertook the complex mission of evacuating vulnerable Canadians, permanent residents and Afghans, including those who supported Canada’s work. Canadian Armed Forces personnel, diplomatic, consular and immigration officials have worked tirelessly alongside partners in the region to ensure safe passage out of Afghanistan for these individuals and their family members, and we to thank them for their service to Canada.

“Faced with a heartbreaking situation in Afghanistan, Canadians have opened their hearts to help people rebuild their lives and more than 17,300 Afghans have arrived in Canada in the past year. We call on the Taliban to uphold their commitment and comply with the UN Security Council resolution on safe exit from Afghanistan for foreign nationals and Afghans.

“Over the past two decades, Canada has helped Afghans make significant gains in democracy, human rights, education and health. These hard-won gains and freedoms would not have been possible without the contribution of Afghans – including, and in particular, women and girls – who participated in democratic political processes and benefited from free media in their country.

“In the aftermath of the fall of Afghanistan, we have witnessed the steady deterioration of these gains in the human and democratic rights of Afghans, especially those of women, girls, members of minority groups and journalists. Canada condemns the Taliban’s suppression of women’s freedom in Afghanistan. The Taliban must honor Afghanistan’s international human rights obligations, lift restrictive measures against women and girls – including those affecting freedom of movement, freedom of expression and education – and restore the meaningful participation of women and girls in Afghan civil society and in building Afghanistan’s future. Let’s be clear: we do not intend to recognize the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan and we will continue to judge the Taliban by their actions, not their words.

“We will continue to pursue our engagement with the international community to support and push for an inclusive and representative political settlement in Afghanistan, respect for international human rights obligations and a commitment against terrorism.

“We remain gravely concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and we will continue to do all we can to support the Afghan people, especially women, girls and members of minority groups. The Taliban takeover has made aid delivery more complex. We call on the Taliban to ensure continued, safe, timely and unhindered access for humanitarian partners, including female staff, to all parts of Afghanistan. Despite this, since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, Canada has provided $156 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and neighboring countries, including $143 million in 2022 alone. Working through independent, experienced and trusted humanitarian partners, Canada’s assistance has enabled the delivery of vital services, such as nutrition and support for emergency health care, clean water and food. sanitation.

“We remain steadfast in our collective resolve to get vulnerable Afghans to safety in Canada as quickly as possible.

“On this day, we pay tribute to the significant sacrifices made by the Afghan people who have worked towards a more peaceful, fairer and more secure future for Afghanistan. We also remember the important contributions of Canadians to moving Afghanistan along the path to peace and security, in particular the 158 members of the Canadian Armed Forces, a Canadian diplomat, a contractor from the Department of National Defense and a Canadian journalist integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces. who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“We are committed to the Afghan people and their aspirations for a stable, secure and peaceful future.”

Fast facts

  • Canada’s response to the situation in Afghanistan includes our plan to resettle at least 40,000 vulnerable Afghans in Canada, which is one of the largest commitments in the world. More than half of this commitment goes to those who have helped Canada, including 18,000 places for the Special Immigration Measures program for Afghan nationals and their families who have closely helped the Government of Canada, as well as 5,000 places for extended family members of Afghan interpreters who came to Canada under previous programs. Additional resettlement will be through the humanitarian stream, which includes both government-assisted and privately-sponsored refugees, including women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted religious and ethnic minorities, LGBTQI people and journalists. Since August 2021, Canada has welcomed more than 17,300 Afghan nationals with more arriving in the weeks and months to come.
  • Since August 2021, Canada has provided $156 million in humanitarian assistance funding to help meet the immediate needs of vulnerable populations in Afghanistan and neighboring countries.
  • Under Operation AEGIS, the Canadian Armed Forces supported the Government of Canada’s efforts to evacuate Canadian citizens, permanent residents and Afghans with significant or long-lasting relationships with the Government of Canada, as well as members of their accompanying family.
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