No support in Syria to bring ISIS orphan to Canada: Sajjan
Published Tuesday, June 25, 2019 9:01PM EDT
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Canada does not have the necessary support in Syria to repatriate ISIS orphan Amira to her remaining family in Canada.
Amira’s parents, who left Canada to join ISIS, and three siblings were killed in an airstrike earlier this year. Her uncle has been lobbying for her to come live with him in Toronto for months.
Sajjan was asked about Canada’s plans regarding the child at a Tuesday press conference detailing the government’s partnership with The Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, but while stressing that “Canada takes its responsibility to its citizens very seriously,” Sajjan said they could not make any decisions that would put anyone else at risk.
“When it comes to that region, we do not have any type of support inside of Syria,” he said. “It would not be wise of us to put other Canadians in jeopardy to be able to provide that support.”
Sajjan also said that Global Affairs Canada is “monitoring the situation very closely,” and that the government needs to “make sure that the decisions that we take are very prudent and that we don’t put our people at risk, and that we do it in a manner that is not going to be in public.”
On Monday, United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet urged that relatives of suspected ISIS fighters should be taken back by their countries of origin.
The United States, France, Australia and Norway have all taken steps to repatriate relatives of ISIS members, but thousands still remain in camps throughout Syria and Iraq.