Evidence of meeting #89 for Citizenship and Immigration in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was help.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Andrew Clifford  Director, Master of Conference Interpreting, Glendon College, York University, As an Individual
Lobat Sadrehashemi  Lawyer, As an Individual
Nadre Atto  As an Individual
Debbie Rose  Manager, Project Abraham, Mozuud Freedom Foundation
Gary Rose  Director of Communications, Project Abraham, Mozuud Freedom Foundation
Shahram Doustan  Interpreter, Cultural Interpretation Services for Our Communities

9:35 a.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Nadre, Canada needs to bring justice to your people. How do we do it?

9:35 a.m.

As an Individual

Nadre Atto

They should help to—

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Rob Oliphant

Hold on for one second. I'm not getting English interpretation. I think we're going to bring the interpreter out and, if people would speak in short points, then we will have consecutive interpretation. I think there's a technical problem. I still think we should have a technician working on that, however. Excuse me.

Ms. Rose, could I have you move over one seat so that the interpreter could have a microphone? He will need to be speaking into a microphone for us to be able to hear him and for translation into French. I think the language professionals are happy to see us having troubles, so we understand the complexity of their world.

I'm going to ask Ms. Atto to repeat her comments, unless the interpreter got her response. Would you like to have it repeated?

9:40 a.m.

Shahram Doustan Interpreter, Cultural Interpretation Services for Our Communities

I think it is a good idea.

9:40 a.m.

As an Individual

Nadre Atto

They could bring Yazidis from Iraq. They should bring most of the Yazidis from Iraq to here. This is part of what they could do.

It has been three years that our honour has been managed in the hands of ISIS and nobody has given any kind of useful help to us to secure those families and women, those people, from ISIS. They should do something about it.

My daughter was 10 years old three years ago and she was married to a terrorist. Who can accept as a human being that happening to their family?

They should help to bring more Yazidis here to Canada because they are not.... In Turkey there are a lot of ISIS members, people affiliated with ISIS, so they are not free to go to Turkey and stay there. Canada should be helpful to bring them over here.

9:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Rob Oliphant

Go ahead, Ms. Rempel.

9:40 a.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Nadre, you spoke about the graves of your people and the need to document them and the need for the world to understand where they are. How can Canada help you bring justice to those who have died at the hands of ISIS?

9:40 a.m.

As an Individual

Nadre Atto

Canada could be helpful and open those graves, basically, and examine them and find out through DNA which body belongs to whom, and to have some respect.

Also, I mention again that Canada could be helpful by bringing more Yazidis from there to here.

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

How can we help you?

9:45 a.m.

As an Individual

Nadre Atto

I'm looking for some way—I don't know how to do it—to bring my mom, and also my brother and sister here to Canada. They live in a tent in northern Iraq and the conditions are really difficult, so I don't know what to do.

If you could help....

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Is there anything else you want to say, that you want to tell the government, Nadre?

9:45 a.m.

As an Individual

Nadre Atto

If I tell you my story, it's going to take days, so I just told you the simple part of it, and it was all honest.

I hope you bring Yazidi families from northern Iraq, not from Turkey.

We haven't done anything wrong to any other nation in the region. All that has happened to us has come from the Islamic thought and those people, so we want you to bring more Yazidis here, instead of bringing those Muslims. We are more needy. With their thoughts they could create problems here again for us. That is the concern I am trying to explain. Massacres have happened so many times against our nation, but we are not against any religion or anybody. We are peaceful people. We don't know what is happening to us, why they are doing all this to us.

There are more than 200 families in the mountains of Sinjar and now they are in a very bad situation. They have not too many resources on hand, and also nobody is taking care of them.

Could there be some help for them?

Thank you very much.

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Rob Oliphant

Thank you.

Ms. Kwan.

9:45 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to all of the witnesses for the presentations. In particular, I'd like to acknowledge Ms. Atto for sharing her experiences with us.

I think all of us recognize that each time you tell your story it must be difficult for you to relive the trauma and to share that with us. We really appreciate your taking the time to do this today.

I'd like to follow up on the question that my colleague Ms. Rempel asked. You mentioned some 200 families that you're hoping the government can help relocate and resettle here in Canada. I'm curious, are those 200 individuals registered with the UNHCR, or are they not connected with them at all?

9:50 a.m.

As an Individual

Nadre Atto

I don't think they are already registered with an organization that can help them. Some people, including my brother, are in the hands of ISIS. They desperately want to get somewhere and they can't. That's the priority I'm talking about. One of my brothers was wounded by ISIS, so he came with us. The rest are in Iraq.

9:50 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

I see. Thank you very much for that information.

I'd like to ask one further question related to your family members. Do you know where your daughter is?

9:50 a.m.

As an Individual

Nadre Atto

I have had no information or phone calls from her, and it's been three years. But it was my honour, and she was taken in front of my eyes.

December 5th, 2017 / 9:50 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Thank you very much.

Debbie and Gary, you mentioned in your presentation the need to go beyond assistance with the UNHCR, mostly for people who perhaps may not be identified. I think we just heard an example of that. I want to acknowledge the recommendation you put forward.

The other piece I want to focus on is the numbers. As you know, through the summer we had a study on the Yazidis issue. For myself, I always envisioned that for the government, even for the 1,200 Yazidis they've resettled, that was meant to be above and beyond the current numbers of the refugee resettlement process. As we now learn, however, that's not the case. That is all part and parcel of the refugee resettlement numbers.

To that end, I want to ask a very specific question. What number do you think the government should engage in the resettlement of the Yazidis? Coming out of this study, what recommendations should we make to the government by way of numbers that we should try to help resettle with the Yazidi population? As well, should that number be above and beyond the existing refugee resettlement program?

9:50 a.m.

Manager, Project Abraham, Mozuud Freedom Foundation

Debbie Rose

I've heard other people say 5,000, and 5,000 is a good start. I don't know that we can.... We had 50,000 Syrians brought over.

If you don't mind, I'd like to go back to this prioritization, because suffering is suffering, and if we're human and we have compassion, we're going to feel for all of the people around the world who are in these despicable situations, but genocide is the purposeful intent to eliminate a people.

Humankind is very concerned right now about animal species going extinct. This is a whole people, a culture within humankind, that is literally being wiped off the face of the earth as we speak. They were once 23 million. They are now a million, and those numbers are decreasing as we speak. Right now, they're going.

This is a peaceful people who say prayers for every other culture in the world before they say prayers for themselves. They adore their children. This is happening to them, and the world doesn't seem to care. We're looking at something like genocide, but we're more concerned about whether polar bears are going to survive, and we're not concerned about the Yazidis surviving.

I can't put a number on it, personally.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Okay. Thank you.

Yes, we've heard through the committee that 5,000 would be a good start, and to build on that. I guess, more specifically, can you confirm for me that, whatever the number that the government resettles, that number should be above and beyond the existing refugee program in terms of the government-assisted refugees? Could I get a short answer? I have a feeling that I'm going to run out of time very quickly.

9:55 a.m.

Manager, Project Abraham, Mozuud Freedom Foundation

9:55 a.m.

Director of Communications, Project Abraham, Mozuud Freedom Foundation

Gary Rose

Yes, we would be in agreement with that. Yes.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Thank you.

I'm going to turn to Lobat.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Rob Oliphant

You just have 10 seconds.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Just to clarify, did I hear you say that in the resettlement of the Yazidis, it should be a special program above and beyond the existing GARs?