Press Releases


Released on September 17th 2015

1.4 Million in Humanitarian Aid, Along with Settlement and Integration Supports, Will Help Meet Needs of Syrian Refugees Locally, Globally: Premier Selinger

The Manitoba government is increasing its commitment to humanitarian relief and supports for refugees caught up in Syria’s civil war, Premier Greg Selinger announced on September 17, 2015.

“I can say with confidence, the people of Manitoba want to be part of addressing this humanitarian crisis and do whatever possible to help the ever-growing number of refugees from Syria,” Premier Selinger said. “Now is a time for investment and action as part of our continued commitment to assist innocent victims of war.”

Together with community advocates, the Syrian community and refugee serving agencies, the premier released a multi-pronged strategy including an immediate pledge of $200,000 in front-line humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugee families.

“A number of our member agencies have been on the ground in Syria since this crisis began, four years ago,” said Janice Hamilton, executive director, Manitoba Council for International Cooperation. “This funding from the government of Manitoba will help provide urgent humanitarian aid to Syrians, many of them children who have been displaced by this horrific conflict.”

Along with investments in direct front-line relief, the Manitoba government will ensure necessary supports are in place should the federal government respond to its request to increase the number of refugees to the province. The premier noted measures include:

providing immediate humanitarian assistance to refugees in the greatest need;
supporting the settlement sector to offer a co-ordinated response;
facilitating and increasing the private sponsorship of Syrian refugees with new supports;
supporting the successful integration of Syrian refugee youth through educationalemployment and mental health supports;
ensuring Syrian refugees have access to high-quality health-care services; and
connecting Syrian refugees to employment and job training through holistic employment supports

“We greatly welcome this generous announcement,” said Robert Granke, executive director, Canadian Lutheran World Relief. “Our organization has worked on the ground, providing humanitarian aid and settling Syrian refugees in Jordan since 2012. This funding will go to where it’s needed most, providing support to families whose lives have been devastated by the violent civil war in Syria.”

“On behalf of Mennonite Central Committee, I welcome this announcement from the Province of Manitoba, and want to express our gratitude for the generosity of the province toward those affected by the ongoing crisis in Syria,” said Ron Janzen, executive director, MCC Manitoba. “Since 2012, MCC has provided more than $31 million in humanitarian assistance in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan. MCC partners in the region have told us that ongoing humanitarian efforts are giving families in the region ‘…dignity, hope and reason to hang in there while they wait to return home.’ The funding announced today will allow organizations like ours to extend that hope and dignity to even more of the families whose lives have been touched by this immense tragedy. Thank you for your support and compassion for the people of Syria.”

“This great news is a good step in the right direction,” said Tarek Habash, Syria Assembly of Manitoba. “The Syrian community in Manitoba is pleased with this decision and now urges the federal government to speed up the process and increase the total number of refugees coming to Canada.”

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