OSSRI Press Conference

On Friday, December 9th, the Or Shalom Syrian Resettlement Initiative (OSSRI) Steering Committee and Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan together with approximately 13 other community organizations across the Lower Mainland held a press conference in the sanctuary at Or Shalom Synagogue to highlight the ongoing and unexplained delays in processing applications for the many families waiting in northern Iraq to come to Canada. Rabbi Hannah contextualized our gathering as one of deep ecumenism, giving voice to the activism at the heart of our shared spirituality, as we endeavour to build this world in love.

In 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government encouraged Canadians to step forward and support Syrian refugees coming to Canada. Like many groups across the country, Or Shalom Synagogue raised enough funds to support four families (16 people in total) for a year. So far, only one of the four OSSRI-sponsored families has arrived in Canada. The press conference brought together concerned groups calling for government accountability to the promises it made for these refugee families and their sponsors.

The call to action is a serious one and we cannot take for granted the power of bringing together groups of diverse faiths, backgrounds and interests to state that these delays cannot continue.  The Greater Vancouver area was responsible for private sponsorship applications for close to 100 Kurdish Syrian refugee families in northern Iraq and many private sponsorship agreement holders are still waiting for their families to arrive.

                    

We are grateful to all who have supported the Syrian resettlement initiative, but our work is not finished. The OSSRI will continue to call for government action through the expeditious processing of applications, and to search for effective ways to bring about the safe arrival of all sponsored families.
The call to action is a serious one and we cannot take for granted the power of bringing together groups of diverse faiths, backgrounds and interests to state that these delays cannot go on.  The Greater Vancouver area was responsible for private sponsorship applications for close to 100 Kurdish Syrian refugee families in N. Iraq and many private sponsorship agreement holders are still waiting for their families to arrive.

While we are grateful to all those who have dedicated themselves to the support of the Syrian Refugee Initiative, we find that our work is not yet finished. The OSSRI will continue to call for government action through the expeditious processing of applications, and to search for effective ways to bring about the safe arrival of all sponsored families.

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