First Afghanistan minority family refugees arrive in Canada


Sikh and Hindu Families Welcomed Under Private Sponsorship Program; Alberta’s Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation Spearheads Move

CALGARY:  The Government of Canada has welcomed the first arrival of Sikh and Hindu minority refugee families from Afghanistan.

Minister of National Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan greeted the  families here on Tuesday, as part of this year’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the successful Private Sponsorship Refugee Program.

The families were brought to Canada, through the generosity of Canadians coming together to help resettle these vulnerable refugees.  Several Government officials greeted the families from among the approved Afghan minority refugee claimants at Calgary International Airport.

“Canada is a global leader in resettling the world’s most vulnerable, which is why our government has worked very closely with the Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation and other partners to ensure safe resettlement opportunities in Canada,” an official press statement said.

Manmeet Singh Bhullar was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta was known for his compassion and support for his community. Unfortunately, he lost his life while helping a stranded motorist but his legacy conti nues to positively affect those in Canada and around the world. His advocacy was instrumental in starting this process to assist vulnerable Sikh and Hindu minorities in Afghanistan.

“We are proud to carry on the legacy of Bhullar in partnership with the foundation that bears his name through this humanitarian resettlement,” Sajjan said.

Harjit Sajjan said:  “Our government has taken action to ensure the safety of survivors of persecution and violence in Afghanistan. Families from among the Afghan Sikh and Hindu minority population have faced extreme risk based on their ethnicity and religious beliefs.

“We are proud to … offer them a new life and home, while ensuring they have the support they need to thrive.”

Tarjinder Kaur Bhullar of the  Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation said: “Today marks an important step in fulfilling Manmeet’s vision for this project. We hope to continue welcoming other families as they complete the private sponsorship journey.

“Minister Sajjan’s stalwart leadership, assistance from the Government of Canada, bi-partisan support, and the sheer will of community members throughout Canada to share in this work; brings us to this point. These families can now move from not only surviving, but thriving while living the Canadian dream.”

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said: “Canada welcomes the first privately-sponsored Afghan Sikh and Hindu families who faced extreme peril for their ethnicity and religious beliefs. Manmeet Bhullar’s legacy of inspiring people to make this world a better place thrives in our Government’s efforts to welcome and provide support to refugees, in order for them to become successful participants in the Canadian mosaic.”