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May 28, 2024
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Canada announces quintuple increase in visas for Palestinians in Gaza

Canada has announced a significant increase in visas for Palestinians aiming to reunite with family members in the country. On Monday, Minister of Immigration Marc Miller revealed that Ottawa would increase the number of visas available to residents of Gaza to 5,000, under a special program initiated in December.

“We remain deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Many people are anxious about their loved ones and have shown considerable interest in the temporary special measures we introduced for their extended family in Gaza,” Miller stated.

Miller emphasized that while the Canadian government is committed to helping Palestinians leave Gaza, current conditions beyond Ottawa’s control make it impossible for residents to exit the territory. Those in Gaza wishing to join family in Canada must first secure approval from Israeli authorities to leave, followed by biometric screening in Egypt.

Earlier this month, the Israeli military took control of the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt as part of its operations in the southern city. Despite the current constraints on movement, Miller expressed hope for future changes, stating, “With this increase in visas, we will be ready to assist more people as the situation evolves. Our priority remains keeping families together.”

Miller noted that Canada continues to submit the names of those who have passed preliminary screening to local authorities in efforts to secure their departure from Gaza. He highlighted the importance of cooperation with Israel and Egypt in implementing these humanitarian measures and facilitating family reunifications in Canada.

The announcement coincided with Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly condemning a deadly Israeli air strike on a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah. “This level of human suffering must end. We demand an immediate ceasefire,” Joly declared.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, the air strike resulted in at least 45 deaths, including 23 women, children, and elderly individuals, and left 249 others injured. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the civilian casualties as a “tragic mistake” and indicated that an investigation is underway.

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