World should follow Canadian lead and take more Syrian refugees

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Near the town of Gevgelija, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a young Syrian girl holds the hand of an adult waiting to board a train to the Serbian border. Photo File: UNICEF/Tomislav Georgiev

Countries around the world should follow Canada's example and take more refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

That's the message from the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), after Canada's new administration pledged to take an extra 25,000 Syrians by the end of this year.

Matthew Wells reports.

Canada had already agreed to take 10,000 refugees from Syria by September next year, but the newly-elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, says his country is now ready to take an extra 25,000 by January 1.

The UNHCR chief, António Guterres, described the ambitious commitment as a "huge gesture of solidarity" with the Syrian people, as well as those neighbouring countries, which were bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis.

He urged other countries to follow Canada's lead, and "dramatically increase" their uptake of refugees.

UNHCR said it would work with Canadian immigration authorities to allow for the rapid identification of refugees, particularly in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan.

A total of 155,000 Syrian refugees have been promised resettlement in countries around the world so far.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 49"

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