Canadian immigration services reached an agreement with the United Arab Emirates to take in up to 1,000 migrants from Afghanistan who have been stuck in limbo in a camp in the Gulf nation for over 16 months.
In a statement issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Ottawa stated that so far more than 650 of the 1,000 people have arrived in Canada.
“In 2022, also through cooperation with the UAE, Canada welcomed three flights of Afghan nationals, bringing our total arrivals from the UAE to over 1,500 to date,” the statement said.
“Despite the ongoing challenges and the difficult work ahead of us, we remain on track to achieve our goal of resettling at least 40,000 vulnerable Afghans by the end of 2023. To date, we have welcomed nearly 32,000 individuals to Canada,” the statement added.
This comes after rising concern for the migrants who have been “arbitrarily detained” in the Emirates Humanitarian City after being evacuated from Afghanistan in the weeks and months after the Taliban takeover of the country.
In March, Human Rights Watch lashed out and said the migrants, who totaled between 2,400 and 2,700 should urgently be released and provided access to fair and efficient processes for determining their status and protection needs.
In the weeks and months after the Taliban takeover of Kabul, the United States, NATO, UAE, and other governments evacuated tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan to locations around the world. The UAE government took thousands on private chartered flights to Abu Dhabi, and then transferred them to the Emirates Humanitarian City and Tasameem Workers City (TWC), another housing facility, pending onward movement.
While many were later resettled in the US, Canada, and elsewhere, between 2,400 and 2,700 Afghans remained arbitrarily detained in the UAE as of early this year.