Afghan refugees: Journalists wait months to get to Canada

With an eye on Canada, Afghan journalist Ziar Khan Yaad’s financial situation has worsened, months after completing his application to join the federal government’s resettlement program.

Speaking to CTV’s Your Morning on Thursday from Pakistan, Yaad said that after arriving in the country last fall, he completed his biometrics, including providing fingerprints and a photo, and was approved by the Authority. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said he would be able to fly to Canada within a month.

But he hasn’t arrived yet and his situation is still uncertain.

“We have no place to live, no money to eat, the money we brought from Afghanistan has been spent and we are in a very bad financial situation,” Yaad said.

Working as a journalist for the Afghan TV station TOLOnews, covering stories about war, peace, politics and security, he said that the rights surrounding freedom of speech and women have much different before the Taliban took over.

“But when the Taliban came, everything was pain,” Yaad said.

In August 2021, Yaad was reporting in Kabul, talking to local workers about unemployment, when people calling themselves the Taliban arrived, beat him up, and confiscated the operator’s phone and equipment. camera operation.

Afghan journalists fear retaliation from the Taliban since the Islamist militant group took control of Afghanistan last year when the US withdrew the last remaining troops from the country – ending a 20-year war there. .

Canada has since pledged to bring at least 40,000 refugees and vulnerable Afghans to Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said that as of April 7, there had been 10,605 arrivals.

Earlier this week, Afghan interpreters who had traveled to Canada appealed to a parliamentary committee in Ottawa to make their families’ arrivals as easy as Ukrainians fleeing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the country. their.

The committee heard that the Taliban were punishing the families of Afghan interpreters, beating men and women and stealing their property in retaliation.

CTV’s Your Morning has reached out to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for comment but did not receive a response before the interview with Yaad aired.

But Aidan Strickland, a spokesman for Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, said in a report from the Canadian Press on Tuesday that there are many logistical obstacles and challenges in Afghanistan.

The situation in Ukraine is different from the situation in Afghanistan.

“Most, if not all, Ukrainian citizens looking to come to Canada have left Ukraine and not come to Canada to seek asylum. In addition, we have heard from the Ukrainian community that many people want to come to Canada temporarily. find find safe harbor while the situation begins, and they can return home when it is safe.”

With files from CTV, The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and CNN

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