A little over a year ago, the UN called on countries to host migrants who have suffered "unimaginable trauma." These migrants were living in slavery in Libya, and had been captured on their way to Europe
Canada was one of the few countries to respond to the demand for help. The UN hopes that more countries will be reminded of their duties to take in refugees, under the 1951 Refugee Convention. It follows recent resettlements of about 1,000 Yazidi refugees from Iraq and 40,000 Syrians, who were threatened by Islamic State militants and Syrian forces.
TL;DR Canada has already taken in 150 refugees formerly kept in Libya, and will receive 600 more in the next two years, announced the Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen. Most of these refugees are people at risk of human trafficking, who will be accepted through the regular refugee settlement program, but some will be refugees for Niger who were rescued from Libyan migrant detention centres, which includes victims of human smuggling.
Hussen stated, “In 2017, the world was shocked to see the harrowing images of people being sold into slavery in Libya. In response to the situation, Canada was one of the few countries to step up to work with the UNHCR to resettle these refugees directly from Libya and offer them a new home in Canada.”
This news comes as the ambivalence of several European countries towards immigrants has led to some dangerous situations for migrants. Italy's new government, for example, no longer allows ships to bring rescued migrants to their shores.
Last week, a coalition of aid organizations from several European countries released an open letter stating that, since January 2018, over 2500 women and children have drowned in the Mediterranean.
Few details have been given as to where and how the new Libyan migrants will be welcomed. We do know that 250 migrants have already immigrated to Canada, and the government plans on welcoming another 600 in the next two years. Most of these migrants are at risk for human trafficking.
Libya is a stopping point for migrants on their way to Europe. The plight of the immigrants there received worldwide attention when a video showing migrants being sold on the slave market emerged last year.
Ahmed Hussen said that Canada would eventually welcome "a lot" of Libyans, and he hopes that Canada will extent warm welcomes to the new immigrants.