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War Resisters seek to make Canada a safe haven for soldiers who seek to flee U.S. militarism

Edited by David Stein, Legal Issues specialist

  Iraq War
   

The War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada is a broad-based coalition of community, faith, labour and other organizations and individuals that have come together to support U.S. soldiers seeking asylum in Canada because they refuse to fight in the illegal war in Iraq.

The Campaign works on two fronts that inclusive of supporting the material needs of war resisters when they arrive in Canada; and campaigning to persuade the Canadian government to provide sanctuary for U.S. war resisters.

The Supreme Court of Canada in mid-November 2007 declined to hear appeals from U.S. war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey seeking refuge in Canada.

The Supreme Court decision appeared to disrespect Canadian constitutional precedence in relation to the safe haven that Canada provided for Vietnam “draft dodgers” during the 1960’s, and current law associated with refugees fleeing oppression and persecutory law.

The Stephen Harper government’s desire to make Canada a U.S. colony, is compromising the ability of Canada to defend the human rights of Americans and other peoples seeking to flee the oppressive so-called “War on Terrorism” agenda of the Bush administration.

Supreme Court of Canada judges also apparently ignored the fact that the pre-emptive military attack against Iraq was illegal under international law; and not endorsed by Canada. Any soldiers seeking to flee military activities that are conducted under the auspices of a war that has neither been endorsed by Canada nor the United Nations Security Council, are by definition refugees.

The War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada immediately staged protests in six cities, including Ottawa, the nation’s capital, and announced plans to ramp up pressure for a political solution, focusing on a forthcoming debate in the Canadian Parliament.

In collaboration with these efforts, the U.S.-based Courage to Resist has sent thousands of letters to Canadian officials on behalf of individual signers of our “Dear Canada: Let US War Resisters Stay” appeal. What we do now by expanding these efforts could make all of the difference for the future of hundreds of Iraq and Afghan War sanctuary seekers and their families currently in Canada.

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