Yazidi refugee woman urges government for help navigating new world

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OTTAWA — A Yazidi refugee woman who was among the 1,200 Yazidis the Liberal government vowed to resettle in Canada says the women who have arrived here are basically on their own.

She’s urging the government to help them navigate their new world and to allow their family members to join them in Canada.

Adiba, 27, fled her home in northern Iraq’s Sinjar district after Islamic State militants massacred Yazidi villages, capturing women as sex slaves, and says some of her family members were among the 10,000 Yazidis who were killed in the genocide. Her parents are still living in a refugee camp in Kurdistan and she did not use her last name out of fear for their safety.

She says she was living in a refugee camp when she learned the Canadian government would sponsor Yazidi women. As one of the first of the group to arrive in Canada, she spent her first few nights scared and alone in a hotel in Toronto until a non-profit organization offered to help.

While she’s grateful to be welcomed to Canada, she was on Parliament Hill Monday morning in support of a petition that calls on the government to ensure female victims of ISIS have access to psychological and social supports provided by the government. NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan says she will table the petition this afternoon.

Mathieu Genest, a spokesman for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, says survivors of ISIS are eligible beneficiaries under the Interim Federal Health Program, where they can receive basic coverage for mental-health services provided by physicians, including psychiatrists, and mental-health hospitals.

The Canadian Press