As It Happens

"It's a nightmare for me," Syrian refugee's long wait for Canada to let his family join him

Today, the United Nations High Commissioner Antonio Guterres encouraged countries around the world to, "open the gates to uprooted Syrians." Here is one of their stories: Zaher Sulaiman is a refugee who escaped the violence in Syria and is now living in Canada. But, he has been waiting more than 2½ years for his family to be allowed to join...
Today, the United Nations High Commissioner Antonio Guterres encouraged countries around the world to, "open the gates to uprooted Syrians."

Here is one of their stories: Zaher Sulaiman is a refugee who escaped the violence in Syria and is now living in Canada. But, he has been waiting more than 2½ years for his family to be allowed to join him in Toronto.
Mr. Sulaiman was granted protected person status as a Syrian refugee last year. This is at a time when Canada has promised to expedite Syrian refugee claims and accept 1300 people by the end of this year.

Canada's Immigration Minister Chris Alexander told CBC that no more than ten refugees had arrived since making that promise. The private sponsorship groups responsible for bringing most of the 1300 Syrian refugees here tell us they are not aware of any who have actually come.
 
Even though Mr. Sulaiman was granted refugee status last year, he came to Canada with a visa and requested asylum. The Syrian community says that only one other person managed to make it here before Canada stopped granting visas and seemingly closed the door to Syrians.

Mr. Sulaiman talks to Carol about his concerns over the slow process refugees are facing and the pain he is going through waiting for his family. He says his wife and two children are currently living in a dangerous environment in Egypt.

You can hear more of Carol's conversation with Syrian refugee Zaher Sulaiman by clicking on the 'Listen' icon above.

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