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Canada Is Giving a Home to 1,200 Yazidi Refugees

Defend International reaches out to Yazidis with humanitarian support.
Wikicommons: Defend International

ISIS has caused suffering around the world, but few groups have known the malice of the group more than the Yazidi people of Iraq.

When ISIS steamrolled into Northern Iraq in 2014, it began a genocide against the Yazidi, killing more than 5,000 people, abducting thousands of women and children as sex slaves, and generating nearly half a million refugees.

Now Canada has announced it will accept 1,200 of the most vulnerable Yazidi refugees and their families throughout the year ahead.

The plan was first conceived last year after ISIS-sex slave survivor and human rights advocate Nadia Murad passionately called on the Canadian government to help.

Read More: Canada Will Accept Yazidi Refugees After Plea From Nadia Murad

“Our people have been nearly destroyed by ISIS,” she wrote at the time. “We have no choice but to ask countries like Canada to help us, countries that have the compassion to understand the cries of the persecuted.”

So far, 400 Yazidi refugees have been taken in under the plan. All arrivals undergo a rigorous security check.

"Our operation is under way and individual survivors of Daesh have been arriving in Canada for resettlement in the last number of months and this began on Oct. 25, 2016," Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told Time.

The plan will ultimately cost around $21 million and is a part of Canada’s larger effort to provide safety to refugees affected by the Syrian war and its outgrowths.

Read More: In Wake of Trump's Travel Ban, Justin Trudeau Shows How World Leaders Should Welcome Refugees

More than 40,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the country since Justin Trudeau took office as prime minister.

The Canadian people have also stepped up to provide robust networks of support for arrivals to help them integrate into the society.

Canada’s open-armed approach is in stark contrast to the new stance taken by the US under the Trump administration, which tried to block any and all refugees from entering the country.

Read More: Millionaire Spends $1.13M to Bring 58 Syrian Refugee Families to Canada

Few Yazidis have arrived in the US since 2014, partly because the vast majority are not in camps supervised by the UN, which directs applicants to the US government.

Most Yazidi survivors have ended up in crowded camps in other parts of Iraq, particularly in Kurdistan after fleeing over the Sinjar Mountains.