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Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan welcomes first arrival of Sikh and Hindu minority families from Afghanistan

AS part of this year’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the successful private sponsorship refugee program, the federal government on Tuesday welcomed the first arrival of Sikh and Hindu minority refugee families from Afghanistan which was possible through the generosity of Canadians coming together to help resettle these vulnerable refugees.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan greeted the first privately-sponsored families from among the approved Afghan minority refugee claimants after their arrival in Calgary. He noted that Canada is a global leader in resettling the world’s most vulnerable, which is why the federal government has worked very closely with the Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation and other partners to ensure safe resettlement opportunities in Canada. Manmeet Singh Bhullar was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta who was known for his compassion and support for his community. Unfortunately, he tragically lost his life while helping a stranded motorist, but his legacy continues to positively affect those in Canada and around the world. His advocacy was instrumental in starting this process to assist the vulnerable Sikh and Hindu minorities in Afghanistan.

The private sponsorship of refugees program has helped resettle thousands of the world’s most vulnerable. The arrival of these refugees is an example of why this program is now being emulated by countries around the world. This program is built on the generosity of Canadians and will continue to help resettle those most in need, Sajjan noted.

He added: “Our government has taken action to ensure the safety of survivors of persecution and violence in Afghanistan. Families from among the Afghan Sikh and Hindu minority population have faced extreme risk based on their ethnicity and religious beliefs. We are proud to honour the legacy of my good friend Manmeet Singh Bhullar by welcoming members of this vulnerable population to Canada to offer them a new life and home, while ensuring they have the support they need to thrive.” The Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation said: “Today marks an important step in fulfilling Manmeet’s vision for this project. We hope to continue welcoming other families as they complete the private sponsorship journey. Minister Sajjan’s stalwart leadership, assistance from the Government of Canada, bi-partisan support, and the sheer will of community members throughout Canada to share in this work; brings us to this point. These families can now move from not only surviving, but thriving while living the Canadian dream.”

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