Mr. Speaker, Canada is deeply concerned by the recent increase in violence in Iraq and its humanitarian consequences. Canada condemns, in the strongest terms, the targeting of civilians and religious minorities, and we are deeply concerned by reports of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity. I would like to provide some context that would help members understand the dire situation being faced by the victims of ISIL.
The humanitarian situation in Iraq and neighbouring countries continues to deteriorate as armed clashes drive displacement. Since January 2014, more than 2.4 million people have been displaced throughout the country, representing one of the largest cases of displacement in the world. Basic services, including health care and water infrastructure, have been disrupted, resulting in acute humanitarian needs. Intense fighting in ISIL-held areas has resulted in a security situation that does not allow humanitarian organizations to operate, and the persecution of minority groups is an ongoing concern.
A key challenge for the humanitarian community continues to be the difficulty of being able to get into conflict areas in order to reach the people who need their help. The military measures we are taking do not preclude humanitarian actions also being taken. There is no either/or. In fact, security on the ground is essential. It is essential to providing humanitarian assistance, and degrading the capabilities of ISIL is key to achieving this while assisting those most in need.
Canada is the fifth-largest donor country in the humanitarian response to the crisis in Iraq. In the last six months, in Iraq we have helped feed 1.7 million people. We provided shelter and relief supplies to 1.25 million people and helped with education needs for half a million children.
Since the beginning of the crisis, Canada has committed $67.4 million to experienced humanitarian partners, such as United Nations humanitarian agencies, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, and non-governmental organizations, to get life-saving assistance to those who need it most. Canada is providing food, hygiene kits, cooking materials, blankets, tents, medical supplies, and other essential supplies, as well as making emergency repairs to water and sanitation facilities.
The religious persecution of those seeking to practise their faith in a peaceful and secure way is unacceptable to Canada, and we are supporting efforts to assist in the protection of these rights. Our assistance is also supporting organizations that are responding to incidents of sexual and gender-based violence.
In addition, we have provided $9.5 million to respond to the needs of Syrian refugees in Iraq. Last October the former minister of foreign affairs announced an additional $10 million contribution to support the innocent victims of ISIL's brutality, in particular to respond to the heinous acts of sexual violence and human rights abuses being committed against women and children.
We have deployed humanitarian relief supplies to Erbil from our stockpile located in the International Humanitarian City in Dubai. These supplies included kitchen sets, jerry cans, tents, blankets, hygiene kits, and mosquito nets. These supplies, distributed by Save the Children and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in partnership with Iraqi organizations, are providing much-needed relief.
The size and pace of displacement have overwhelmed local communities and governments in the region. We know the suffering is spilling across borders. That is why Canada has been a leader among the international community in our response to the broad crisis in the region.
In Syria, Canada is the sixth-largest country donor in the humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis. Canada has made significant contributions in response to the Syrian crisis, including more than $700 million in humanitarian, development, and security assistance for Syria and neighbouring countries.
Our government has committed additional humanitarian assistance for the needs of Syrians within the country and for those seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, and we support UNICEF's “no lost generation” strategy.
This is to provide education and protection for conflict-affected children. With this funding, UNICEF in Syria provided 162,000 children with school material and reached 20,000 children with critical support.
In Jordan, UNICEF provided for 52,000 children and youth to attend child- and adolescent-friendly spaces and reached 36,980 women and men with awareness sessions on prevention and response to violence, on protection, and on referral, as well as on sexual and gender-based violence.
Canada has committed over $230 million in development assistance to countries hosting numbers of Syrian refugees, including Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon. This assistance focuses on building resilience in refugee-hosting communities to provide basic services such as education, municipal services, water, and sanitation. The assistance is also to foster social cohesion.
In Egypt, Canada is supporting 195,000 Egyptian and Syrian refugee students through school feeding, and over 60,000 students through initiatives supporting access to quality education.
In Jordan, over one million Jordanian and Syrian refugee students are benefiting from improved access to quality education, water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives. Canada is supporting the provision of municipal services to more than 1.1 million Jordanian and Syrian refugees.
In Lebanon, Canada is providing water, sanitation, and hygiene support in schools to 18,750 Lebanese and Syrian refugee students.
Thanks to Canada's support, our partners are responding to numerous humanitarian needs. They are providing drinking water to 16 million people, as well as food assistance to 1.4 million Syrians inside the country and emergency assistance to nearly three million refugees in neighbouring countries.
As mentioned, there has been a concern that children will fall behind with their education because of disruptions caused by conflict and displacement. We are addressing the protection and education needs of displaced children, who are being denied the right to a childhood, an education, and even a future. Canada is taking steps to address this issue across the region.
We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that humanitarian assistance is provided to those affected by the barbaric group ISIL. Canadian officials will continue to monitor the situation closely and assess the security and humanitarian challenges that are facing the Iraqi people.
It is very concerning that both the Liberals and NDP fail to acknowledge the real threat that ISIL and jihadi terrorism pose to Canada. Under the leadership of our Prime Minister, our government will continue to take this threat very seriously. ISIL has made it clear that it targets, by name, Canada and Canadians. We cannot protect Canada by simply choosing to ignore this threat.
We cannot provide humanitarian assistance to victims of ISIL in other countries by ignoring the threat. We will not sit on the sidelines, as our opposition, the Liberals and the NDP, would have us do.
I will be supporting today's motion because it is clear that Canada must help. We must help to confront ISIL. We must help to degrade ISIL. We must help to confront and degrade ISIL until it is no longer a threat to Canada.