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Minister Kenney Visits Displaced Syrians in Turkish Camps

ANKARA, TURKEY -- (Marketwire) -- 01/14/13 -- Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney today visited the Islahiye and Oncupinar camps in Turkey for displaced Syrians who have fled violence in their homeland.

During his time in Turkey, Minister Kenney is meeting with state and humanitarian organizations representatives, including those from the Turkish Red Crescent and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with whom he will be discussing the plight of displaced Syrians, and Canada's role in providing humanitarian assistance.

"I was deeply moved to hear from displaced Syrians about the unthinkable violence that they have experienced," said Minister Kenney. "We commend the Government of Turkey for its extraordinary efforts in providing refuge to those displaced by the ongoing conflict. Canada recognises that Turkey is facing significant pressures on domestic resources following the influx of Syrians seeking protection from the civil war."

Minister Kenney announced, on behalf of International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino, that Canada is providing additional humanitarian assistance in response to the ongoing crisis in Syria. He announced that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is contributing an additional $1.5 million to the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement to help address the needs of those who have fled. The funding will help provide food, water and shelter, and items such as hygiene kits, blankets, heaters, and winter clothing for up to 170,000 displaced Syrians over the coming months.

"As the conflict in Syria escalates, civilians continue to live in a state of crisis with immense and urgent needs," said Minister Fantino. "Canada continues to help to ensure that the basic needs of the Syrian people caught in the middle of this conflict are met quickly and effectively."

Ongoing violence has caused mass displacement within Syria, with thousands fleeing into neighbouring countries. The number of Syrians currently hosted in the countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq now exceeds half a million, the majority women and children.

With this announcement, Canada has contributed $23.5 million in humanitarian assistance for Syrians to date. The $1.5 million will help to ensure that essential emergency relief items are provided to vulnerable people at the Turkish-Syrian border, as well as maintain contingency stocks.

Canada's overall humanitarian assistance to displaced Syrians includes contributions to the UNHCR, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme to address the needs of displaced Syrians in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq.

"I have spoken to High Commissioner Antonio Guterres about the crisis," said Minister Kenney. "He thanked Canada for our contribution to the UNHCR's relief efforts, and emphasized that the preferred long-term solution is for a political process that ends the civil war, rather than seeking to resettle permanently hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians."

In 2012, in part through Canada's humanitarian assistance, 1.1 million persons inside Syria were provided with clean water and 400,000 persons received essential items such as hygiene kits, blankets, mattresses and kitchen sets. Up to 1.5 million persons inside Syria also receive food assistance every month from the World Food Programme, to which Canada contributes. Moreover, Canada and other donors are helping meet the basic needs of the more than 500,000 Syrians who have fled to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

For more information on Canada's humanitarian assistance to the crisis in Syria, please visit the CIDA website at http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/acdi-cida/ACDI-CIDA.nsf/eng/JUD-4555822-G32

Canada, through its International Humanitarian Assistance Program, aims to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain the dignity of those affected by conflicts and natural disasters by providing appropriate, timely, and effective responses.

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Photos of Minister Kenney available at: www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/photos/high-res/index.asp.

Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada's economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.

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