On behalf of Yemeni Canadian citizens in Canada, we are writing to request that the Group of Five (“G5”) exemptions granted to Iraqi and Syrian refugees be extended to Yemeni refugees.
The G5 program allows five (or more) Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor a refugee living abroad to come to Canada, as long as the refugee is registered with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or foreign state. However, on October 19, 2012 the Government of Canada has temporarily exempted Syrians and Iraqis fleeing the current conflict from the requirement of refugee status with the UNHCR.
Although the media hasn’t given the conflict in Yemen its fair share of coverage, the conflict is not any less violent than the war in Iraq or Syria. The UN has declared the state of humanitarian emergency in Yemen. Around 80% of the population is in dire need of assistance: food, medical supply, fuel, and access to safe zones. Other conflicts in the region in areas of interest to super powers have taken the spotlight and attracted world sympathy and foreign aid.
Civilians are caught in a war between an armed rebel group influenced by Iran and an ousted government supported militarily by Saudi Arabia. Amnesty International has documented human rights violations by both fighting parties against civilians. Those violations include random bombardment of residential areas, kidnapping, and sieges around highly dense cities.
The stance of our Canadian government towards refugees from Syria and Iraq is a world example of compassion and humanity. Canadians of Yemeni and Middle Eastern roots are seeking your help to grant them the same support and the ability the sponsor their families and loved ones via the G5 program along with the exemptions mentioned above.
Thank you in anticipation of your cooperation.