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May 12, 2022

Canada Has Welcomed 12,605 Afghan Nationals, Among Those Are Afghan Journalists Who Now Find Freedom of Expression in Canada

Posted by Jiwon Chun - Bellissimo Law Group PC

Since August 2021, Canada has welcomed a total of 12,605, and the number is growing every week. In honour of World Press Freedom Day, which is May 3, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in its news release highlighted its ongoing efforts in resettling Afghan nationals, including Afghan journalists who have now settled in Canada and are once again safe to pursue their choice of profession in Canada.[1]

Freedom of expression is one of the pillars of democracy. Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom reads, “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms . . . freedom of thought belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.”[2] World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993 as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom.[3]

Canada values freedom of the press as an important part of our democracy. The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship commented, “Journalism is indispensable to democratic societies, and these journalists have risked their lives reporting on important issues in Afghanistan. We stand with those who lacked protection in Afghanistan under the Taliban, including journalists. I am proud that Canada has given them hope and aspirations to continue their valuable work in their new country.”[4]

Afghan journalists have been at the forefront of the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan, even as they were targeted and tortured for their work.[5] Through a special humanitarian resettlement program that specifically helps the most vulnerable Afghan citizens, including journalists and those who helped Canadian journalists,[6] Canada recognized the bravery and commitment of Afghan journalists who persisted and succeeded in providing a safe haven for many of them.

Recently, just in one week, over 600 government-assisted and privately sponsored Afghan refugees arrived in Toronto.[7] Canada’s goal is to bring at least 40,000 Afghan nationals, and we are about 1/3 of our way in achieving that goal.

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