Canadian government abandons human rights at sea: Release the Canadian Boat to Gaza
November 4, last year, the Canadian ship Tahrir and its cargo of medical supplies, along with everyone onboard, were forcibly taken by the Israeli navy while peacefully sailing in international waters towards the blockaded* Gaza Strip.
The Canadian government expressed no concern to the government of Israel over this serious international incident involving Canadians. Despite multiple requests, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs under Minister John Baird is refusing to ask Israel to release the Tahrir and its cargo of desperately-needed medical aid, saying that this is a purely private matter. Canadians expect more from their government.
The Tahrir was bought with Canadian funds collected from people and organizations from coast to coast to coast. Israel has had more than enough time for a thorough inspection and search of the vessel, the ostensible reason used to justify the capture of the Tahrir, and has never found, nor even claimed to find, anything dangerous or prohibited on board. And yet the Harper Tories have once again granted Israel impunity for its reckless actions.
No country, group or government is above questioning, above accountability, or above the law. The government of Canada, whatever its political agenda, has a solemn duty to uphold the law and ensure Canadians' right to peaceful maritime travel and to engage in non-violent action.
We, the undersigned, call on the Canadian government to demonstrate its commitment to international law and the treaties to which it is a signatory, by:
1. providing all necessary assistance in the prompt recovery of the Tahrir, the medical aid, and all Canadian property on board that was seized violently during a lawful, peaceful voyage to Gaza;
2. insisting that Israel meet its obligations under international law by facilitating the unimpeded movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza, including by sea, in compliance with the United Nations Security Council resolution 1860.
Sign your name to this declaration here.
(*) In a report dated Sept. 13, 2011 , following the release of the Palmer report, four independent UN Human Rights experts concluded that the blockade of Gaza is illegal: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=11363&LangID=E
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