Canadian Government Pledges Millions in Financial Aid to Iraqis

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The Canadian government will provide millions of dollars in financial assistance to help thousands of Iraqis in need of food, shelter, healthcare and other aid, as well as direct considerable funds to organizations that are helping victims of violence and sexual abuse.

“Canada remains concerned by ISIL’s [the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] persecution of, and atrocities against, ethnic and religious groups, including Christians, Yazidis, Shabaks, Sunni Arabs and Shia Turkmen, and by its appalling treatment of civilians, including women and girls,” a press statement from the Government of Canada reads.

Canada pledged $158 million over three years to support humanitarian and stabilization efforts to the people of Iraq and up to $200 million in additional financing to the Government of Iraq.

The pledge coincides with today’s (July 20) Pledging Conference in Support of Iraq at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC, hosted by Secretary of State John. Kerry, for government officials of Canada, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and the U.S.

“During the conference, Minister Stéphane Dion [Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs ] will announce that of Canada’s pledge of $158 million, $150 million will support the international humanitarian response to help meet the basic needs of conflict-affected Iraqis, $4 million will be provided to the United Nations Development Programme to help Iraqis return to their homes in areas liberated from ISIL, and $4 million will support the clearance of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Ramadi and other liberated areas,” a press release from the Government of Canada states.

“Canada is also working with international partners to support Iraq’s economic reform efforts and will provide up to $200 million in additional financing support to the Government of Iraq, including through a guarantee contribution to the World Bank to help increase its lending to Iraq.”  The $200 million was agreed to at the G7 Leaders’ Summit.

These pledges are part of the three-year, $1.6-billion commitment to the country and region that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made back in February, which includes $840 million in humanitarian assistance, $270 million in development assistance, in addition to $145 million to counter-terrorism, stabilization and security programming.

According to statistics provided by the public relations office at the Embassy of Canada in Washington D.C., since January 2014 more than 3.3 million Iraqis have been displaced as a result of the conflict with ISIL, a.k.a. as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Another 750,000 have returned to their homes, often finding them destroyed. In 2015 alone, more than 7,500 civilians were killed and close to 15,000 injured.

“Canada commends the Iraqi people for their courage and resilience in the face of conflict,” Dion said in a statement. “Along with our Iraqi and international partners, we are committed to helping Iraqis meet their basic needs, return to their homes and start rebuilding a stable, democratic and inclusive country.”

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada's Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, explained further how the money will be directed:  “Canada’s assistance will help meet the urgent health, shelter, protection, education and food needs of hundreds of thousands of affected civilians. Our assistance will also support organizations responding to incidents of violence and sexual abuse, particularly against women and girls, who have been disproportionately affected by the current crisis.”

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