Canada to resettle Afghan female judges and their families

Canada will resettle Afghan female judges and their families who evacuated from the country in the fall and now living in Limbo, primarily in Greece. A spokesperson of the immigration minister said on Friday.

The spokesperson added that in addition to this group of about 230 people, Canada would resettle an unspecified number of Afghans who fall in one of the communities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other queer communities. They must have been referred to Canada by a third-party organization. Expectedly, they will come to Canada next year, though there is not any specific date yet.

Previously, Canada has promised to take in 40,000 Afghan refugees, but to do so, there is no specific timeline. According to the government figures, up until now, Canada has resettled 3,915 Afghans with connection to the government of Canada and 2,535 Afghans through humanitarian programs since the Taliban overtook Afghanistan in August.  

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Since the Taliban’s previous ruling in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, Afghan women made great improvements in the two decades by joining bastions such as judiciary, media, and politics, which previously were all-male bastions.

Freshta Masoni, a family court judge who is living in Athens with her child daughter, said that all the achievements of 20 years returned back to point zero within the blink of an eye.

Taking power, the Taliban promised to protect women’s rights according to Islamic law, as they announced a general amnesty for all former government workers. Advocates fear returning back to the point where women did not possess the right to work, and girls were not allowed to attend school.

Even with the possibility of leaving the country, Afghan asylum-seekers might face waits amid logistical backlogs and delays for years. Western countries often resettle those refugees who are referred by the United Nations refugee agencies, and it has a low capacity of processing applications for resettlement.

Canada’s Immigration minister, Sean Fraser, said earlier this month that the worst bottleneck is the issue that the regional referral partners do not have the ability to enlarge the capacity. The minister added that these challenges would take some time to be sorted.

Officials of the UN refugee agency and advocates say that the refugee situation in Afghanistan is different from the Syrian crisis that several years ago galvanized the world. Unlike Syria, the Afghanistan crisis increased during a global pandemic, so many face difficulties leaving the country. Those who leave the country will face additional waits, mostly in countries that have little capacity to support.

Some of the Afghan female judges living in Greece from October said that due to their temporary vis status, they had faced a lack of health coverage.

Advocates have requested countries to take in Afghans with no designation requirement from the UNHCR or any other non-government organizations; a step showed interest to.

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