By Barry Ellsworth
Canada missed its target of resettling 1,200 Ezidis and others abused by Daesh by the end of 2017 because of an airport closure in Iraq, Canadian media reported Tuesday.
Enough visas were issued by Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada (IRRC) but only 981, more than three-quarters of them Ezidi, had arrived by year’s end.
Those refugees were government sponsored and an additional 64 came to Canada sponsored by private groups.
The 1,200 figure represents the full compliment of refugees under the IRRC and private programs.
“While the department will not be receiving any new applications under this initiative, the remaining survivors of (Daesh) who are currently in process, will continue to arrive in Canada in early 2018,” said Faith St. John, an IRCC spokesperson.
Most Ezidis live in an area where the Erbil International Airport is located in northern Iraq.
International flights in and out of the airport were banned by the Iraqi government in September after Kurds voted for independence. The Kurds refused an order by the government in Baghdad to surrender control of the airport.
The initial three-month ban has been extended and remains in place.
The Canadian government said in mid-October it was on track to meet its 1,200 target and around 800 had arrived from Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey. But the travel restrictions put a kink in the immigration goal.