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Tearful reunion for Yazidi boy and family in Winnipeg

The UNHCR Representative in Canada, Jean-Nicolas Beuze has praised Canada’s work on refugee resettlement today as a Yazidi boy has been reunited with his family in Winnipeg after three years’ separation.

Emad Mishko Tamo was just 9 years old when he was captured by extremists in Iraq. His mother Nofa Zaghla and his siblings were separated from him and spent 1 year in a refugee camp before being resettled in Canada. Just one month ago, Nofa learned that her son was alive when Iraqi troops posted a picture of the rescued Emad on social media. With the agitation of local Yazidi Christian groups and with the cooperation of UNHCR and the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Emad’s journey to Canada was expedited to ensure his speedy reunion with his family.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Emad arrived at the airport in Winnipeg and had a tearful reunion with his mom and siblings. UNHCR Representative in Canada Jean-Nicolas Beuze was one of the few allowed into the private reunion, before Emad and his family went through the arrivals area to strong media presence.

Beuze described the reunion as “joyful” and praised Canada’s work on refugee resettlement, quoted in an article by CBC News. Beuze praised Canada for “offering a space, a safe space for families to be reunited…It is very important that we keep the family unity, whether it be for this Yazidi family or many other families around the world.”

Family reunification is central to the work of UNHCR. Separated families can only enjoy life through the reunion of family members in a country where they can live a normal life together and the separation of refugee families is often traumatic and can have long lasting consequences in a refugee’s well being. Therefore, refugees and other persons in need of international protection who have no other country than the country of asylum or resettlement to lead a normal family life together should be entitled to family reunion in the country of asylum or resettlement.

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