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April 9th, 2024

NDP calls on Liberals to bring family members stuck in Sudan to safety

OTTAWA – On Tuesday, the NDP called on the Liberal government to accelerate the processing of applications of people fleeing war in Sudan to reunite them safely with their family in Canada. Since the Liberals launched their family reunification program for relatives in Sudan in February, not one person has been approved to come to Canada as Sudan is on the brink of a man-made famine.

In a press conference, joined by a member from Alberta’s Sudanese community whose mother is stuck in Sudan, NDP MP Blake Desjarlais (Edmonton Griesbach), NDP critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship MP Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East) and NDP critic for Foreign Affairs MP Heather McPherson (Edmonton Strathcona) urged the Liberals to take action to save lives before it’s too late.

“The situation in Sudan is dire, with thousands of people killed, displaced, or starving. Sudanese Canadians feel abandoned by the Liberals and they’re worried about their relatives’ safety,” said Desjarlais. “Families have been pleading with the Liberals to expedite the process to reunite them with their loved ones, but they just aren’t listening."

In March, McPherson and Kwan wrote a letter to Ministers Joly, Miller and Hussen urging them to help hold those perpetrating war crimes accountable as well as expedite visa applications for those stranded in Sudan. None of the Liberal Ministers have responded as advocates call the situation in Sudan “catastrophic”.

“It is shameful that not a single relative in Sudan has come to Canada through the government's immigration program and the Minister is saying loved ones won't arrive until the end of the year or early next year,” said Kwan.

“Families cannot wait a year as millions of lives in Sudan are at risk of famine amid a horrific war. The government has failed to get this program to work and has left people who are eligible to come to Canada completely stranded. Time is of the essence. The government's expressions of concern are meaningless if it cannot start bringing people out of a war zone and to safety with their loved ones in Canada now."

“With over 12,000 people killed in the region, and millions displaced, this government hasn’t done enough to push for peace as well as reunite families here in Canada. We must hold those perpetrating war crimes accountable, like sanctioning war lords in the region. Canada must use its role on the world stage to advocate for an end to this bloodshed,” added McPherson.