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War Resisters June 3rd Motion must pass. Canada must not abandon its traditional role of providing sanctuary to those opposed to war PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Monday, 02 June 2008 04:41

2008 June 2

War Resisters June 3rd Motion must pass. Canada must not abandon its traditional role of providing sanctuary to those opposed to war

PEJ News - Joan Russow - Global Compliance Research Project - The cycle of errors in Canadian response to US war resisters must end on June 3, with the full acceptance, and implementation, by the Canadian Parliament, of the motion contained in the May 8, 2007 majority report from the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.


This Report calls for  the government to immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members (partners and dependents), who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations and do not have a criminal record, to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and that the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions that may have already commenced against such individuals.

Up until now, there have been a series of errors from the failure of both Canada and the US to fulfill their obligations to prevent discrimination on the grounds of “political and other opinion” , from the failure to clearly observe obligations under the Convention on Refugees, from the failure of the Canadian Federal Court to the failure of the Supreme Court of Canada to hear the cases. Canadians must lobby all members of Parliament to support this motion.

Canadians must lobby all members of Parliament to support this motion, and the Conservative government, to respect the majority vote, and implement the motion. See campaign on http://www.resisters.ca

www.PEJ.org

 

THE CYCLE OF ERRORS MUST FINALLY END

The civil and political rights of the US War resisters in Canada have been disregarded by the Conservative Party, have been denied by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), opposed by the Federal Court, and refused to be considered by the Supreme Court of Canada. On June 3rd, the motion arising from the Report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to protect the rights of the war resisters must be accepted in Parliament and finally end the cycle of errors.
In the Canadian Conservative government’s dissenting position to the majority decision of the Committee, the Conservatives stated:

“Canada is in full compliance with its international commitments and obligations” in respect to providing sanctions for US war resisters in Canada.”

In addressing the refugee status of the War resisters, Canada through the Immigration and Refugee Board, the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada has erred in discharging obligations under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, UN Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Convention Refugee Status, and the Charter of the United Nations

The Conservatives have erred in not recognizing the obligation, ” under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, to not discriminate on the ground of ‘political and other opinion”

Canada and the United States are signatories of the International Covenant of Civil and political rights. The Covenant was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966 and entered into force 23 March 1976, in accordance with Article 49

Under the Article 2 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights Covenant is the provision to not discriminate on the ground of political and other opinion, and the obligation to enact laws to ensure implementation of the Covenant:

1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status

2. Where not already provided for by existing legislative or other measures, each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take the necessary steps, in accordance with its constitutional processes and with the provisions of the present Covenant, to adopt such laws or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the present Covenant.

At the time of signing this Covenant, the United States even entered what was described as an “understanding”. This understanding indicated that there is in the United States a provision under the Constitution not to discriminate on the grounds of Political and other opinion.

Understandings:
"(1) That the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee all persons equal protection of the law and provide extensive protections against discrimination. The United States understands distinctions based upon race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or any other status - as those terms are used in article 2, paragraph 1 and article 26 - to be permitted when such distinctions are, at minimum, rationally related to a legitimate governmental objective. The United States further understands the prohibition in paragraph 1 of article 4 upon discrimination, in time of public emergency, based `solely' on the status of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin, not to bar distinctions that may have a disproportionate effect upon persons of a particular status.

The Conservative government, along with the Refugee Board, the Federal Court and the Supreme Court has erred in not recognizing the obligations under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees

Although the United States is not a signatory of the Convention, Canada is a signatory of the Convention. The Convention was adopted on 28 July 1951 by the United Nations Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons convened under General Assembly resolution 429 (V) of 14 December 1950 and entered into force 22 April 1954, in accordance with article 43

Canada has, however, ignored the following obligations under the Convention. Convention relating to the Status of Refugees

Article 1. Definition of the term "refugee"

A. For the purposes of the present Convention, the term "refugee" shall apply to any person who:

(1) Has been considered a refugee under the Arrangements of 12 May 1926 and 30 June 1928 or under the Conventions of 28 October 1933 and 10 February 1938, the Protocol of 14 September 1939 or the Constitution of the International Refugee Organization;
Decisions of non-eligibility taken by the International Refugee Organization during the period of its activities shall not prevent the status of refugee being accorded to persons who fulfill the conditions of paragraph 2 of this section;
(2) As a result of events occurring before I January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.

Article 33. Prohibition of expulsion or return ("refoulement")
1. No Contracting State shall expel or return ("refouler") a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

The Conservative government, along with the Refugee Board, the Federal Court and the Supreme Court has erred in not recognizing the obligations under, UN Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Convention Refugee Status

B. Deserters and persons avoiding military service

167. In countries where military service is compulsory, failure to perform this duty is frequently punishable by law. Moreover, whether military service is compulsory or not, desertion is invariably considered a criminal offence. The Penalties may vary from country to country, and are not normally regarded as persecution. Fear of prosecution and punishment for desertion or draft-
evasion does not in itself constitute well-founded fear of persecution under the definition. Desertion or draft-evasion does not, on the other hand, exclude a person from being a refugee, and a person may be a refugee in addition to being a deserter or draft-evader.

168.
A person is clearly not a refugee if his only reason for desertion or draft-evasion is his dislike of military service or fear of combat. He may, however, be a refugee if his desertion or evasion of military service is concomitant with other relevant motives for leaving or remaining outside his country, or if he otherwise has reasons, within the meaning of the definition, to fear persecution. 22 In respect of Africa, however, see the definition in Article 1 (2) of the OAU Convention concerning the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, quoted in paragraph 22 above.
23 See Annex VI, items (6) and (7).

169. A deserter or draft-evader may also be considered a refugee if it can be shown that he would suffer disproportionately severe punishment for the military offence on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. The same would apply if it can be shown that he has well-founded fear of persecution on these grounds above and beyond the punishment for desertion.

170.
There are, however, also cases where the necessity to perform military service may be the sole ground for a claim to refugee status, i.e. when a person can show that the performance of military service would have required his participation in military action contrary to his genuine political, religious or moral convictions, or to valid reasons of conscience.

171.
Not every conviction, genuine though it may be, will constitute a sufficient reason for claiming refugee status after desertion or draft-evasion. It is not enough for a person to be in disagreement with his government regarding the political justification for a particular military action. Where, however, the type of military action, with which an individual does not wish to be associated, is condemned by the international community as contrary to basic rules of human conduct, punishment for desertion or draft-evasion could, in the light of all other requirements of
the definition, in itself be regarded as persecution.


The Conservative government, along with the Refugee Board, the Federal Court and the Supreme Court have erred in not accepting that the type of US action against Iraq was an aggressive act condemned by the International community

The Immigration and Refugee Board, the Federal Court and the Supreme Court have erred in not acknowledging that the type of military action, with which an individual does not wish to be associated, is condemned by the international community as contrary to basic rules of human conduct,

The Charter of the United Nations reflects international peremptory norms that have been accepted by the international community. The Charter contains in the Preamble the following objectives:

to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

The invasion of Iraq, violated numerous international norms as well as obligations arising from Treaties. such as the Convention Against Torture and various Geneva Conventions 

Under Article 1 of the charter is the following purpose:

The Purposes of the United Nations are:

1.     To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace.
In addition, prior to the invasion of Iraq, there was a global call to invoke the Uniting for Peace resolution which would have resulted in an emergency session of the UN General Assembly. This session was never called because of a threatening letter sent, by the US to all members of the United Nations General Assembly (Press Conference organized by the government of Chile, 2003).

CAMPAIGN TO LOBBY MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT TO SUPPORT THE MOTION

Canadians must lobby all members of Parliament to support this motion. (http://www.resisters.ca) . It appears that the three opposition parties that supported the motion in the Report from the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, will vote in favour of adopting the Motion in Parliament. The Conservative minority government must recognize the will of the majority and implement the motion.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 July 2015 11:28
 

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