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(from ONE magazine March 2010)

Refugee Conference
Posted: 18 Mar 2010

CNEWA Canada and the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario sponsored the first National Conference on Refugee Sponsorship held at the Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Center in Pickering, near Toronto, from 13-15 January. The conference brought together refugee and social justice advocates from across Canada to discuss strategies to increase the number of refugee sponsorships as well as assistance to refugees overseas.

Conference attendees addressed the growing Iraqi Christian refugee crisis in particular. For several years, CNEWA and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops have urged the Canadian government to respond more substantially to the plight of Iraqi Christians, who have been fleeing their native country in disproportionate numbers since 2003.

Speakers at the conference included Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto, Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and Carl Hétu, CNEWA Canada’s national secretary.

Following the conference, Minister Kenny announced that Canada would increase the number of Iraqis eligible for refugee sponsorship at Canada’s refugee center in Damascus, Syria, from 1,300 to 2,500 persons each year for the next three years.