Letter in Support of Palestinian Refugees facing Deportation from Montreal

New York, July 21, 2003

(Letter sent via Certified Mail, Facsimile, and will be Hand Delivered by a delegation from Al-Awda, New York members today at the Consulate in New York City.)

Ms. Pamela Wallin
Canadian Consul General New York
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10020-1175

Honourable Denis Coderre
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Jean-Edmonds Tower South, 21st Floor
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1

Subject: Palestinian Refugees in Montreal

Dear Consul General Wallin, Minister Coderre:

In Montreal, there are over 100 Palestinian refugee claimants facing deportation in the coming days, weeks, and months. They are from the refugee camps of Lebanon and from the Occupied Territories.

The Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are forbidden from owning property, working in over 78 professions, receiving proper health care, and moving and traveling freely. These are only a few of the persecutory measures and discriminatory restrictions the Palestinian refugees have to face. Moreover, the intensified mistreatment of Palestinian refugees inside the camps has left their lives in real and immediate peril.

As for the Palestinians who have escaped the dire situation in the Occupied Territories, very little need be said as to the terror they face daily and routinely. They have fled from the killings, extrajudicial assassinations, house demolitions, illegal arrests, trials without evidence, torture, land confiscations, and constant humiliations.

Facing evident persecution, it is deplorable and unacceptable that a significant number of these refugees are being rejected and deported. It is evident, upon examination of the Palestinian refugee claimants cases that:

– The IRB demonstrated insensitivity and ignorance to the facts on the ground.

– Some IRB members have taken clear political positions which contradict that of both Canada and the International Community as demonstrated by the following statement: “The panel believes that, on a whole, documentary evidence indicates that the violence in the Middle East is part of Israel’s attempts at establishing secure political frontiers and preventing terrorist attacks on its territory.  Documentary evidence does not reveal that there exists a systematic will on the part of the Israeli military authorities to systematically persecute and exterminate the Palestinian population while doing so, despite the horrors caused in the war-torn areas.”

– There is a clear inconsistency in decision-making, where one claim will be accepted under the Convention, while an identical claim will be turned down, in some cases leading to the separation of brothers and sisters.

Therefore we demand the following:

1. Immediately stop all deportations of Palestinian refugees.

2. Accept Palestinian refugee claims, thus giving them the title of Landed Status in Canada.

We urge you to meet with the Coalition against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees in order to discuss these very serious matters.

Best regards,

The undersigned organizations and groups:

Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees/ Coalition contre la déportation des réfugiés palestiniens
Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI), Montreal
Alternatives, Montreal
Association of Palestinian Arab Canadians, Capital Region
The Accessible Self-Defense Group
Anti-Capitalist Community Action Ottawa (ACA), Ottawa
The Anti-Capitalist Convergence of Montreal (CLAC), Montreal
Al-Awda/Palestine Right To Return Coalition (PRRC)
Al-Awda, New York/New Jersey
Al-Awda, Vancouver
Al-Awda, Toronto
Al-Awda, Ottawa
AnNahda, Montreal
Arab-palestine Association-BC, Vancouver
Arab Palestine Association of Ontario, Toronto
Bête Noire, Montreal
Block the Empire/Bloquez l’Empire, Montreal
Comité d’action des sans-status algériens
Canadian Palestinian Foundation of Quebec (CPF-Q), Montreal
Canadian Friends of Sabeel, Ottawa
Canadian Federation of Students (CFS-Q), Quebec
Canadian Arab Federation (CAF), Canada
Canadian Muslim Forum (CMF), Montreal
Canadian Palestinian Centre, Ottawa
Canaanite Canadian Knowledge Centre, Ottawa
Canadians for Equality and Peace for Palestinians (CEPPal), Edmenton
Canadian Auto Workers Local 199, St Catharines and District
Centre Femmes Verdun
Canadian Palestinian Congress, Toronto
Canada Palestine Trade Council, Toronto
Calgary Coalition for Peace & Anti-Racism, Calgary
Canadian Council of Muslim Women (Montreal chapter), Montreal
CKUT/CJLO Radio, Montreal
Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants (CHRI), New York
Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP)
Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain (CSN)
Comité régional d’éducation pour le développement internationalde Lanaudière (CREDIL)
The Communist League, Montreal
Deir Yassin Society of Ramallah and New York
Dar Al-Arqam, Montreal
Direct Action Casework Ottawa (DACO), Ottawa
Dragon Root Center for Gender Advocacy, Montreal
L’Entraide missionnaire, Montreal
Fire Women & Trans of Colour Collective, Montreal
Freedom School, Montreal
The Free Press, of Kitchener, Ontario
Human Concern International, Ottawa
Iranian Women’s Association of Montreal, Montreal
International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Montreal
Jews Against The Occupation,  New York City
Jewish Alliance Against the Occupation, Montreal
Kingston for Palestinian Human Rights, Kingston
Libertas Legal Collective, Montreal
McGill Radical Law Community, Montreal
McMaster Students Against the Occupation
Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP), Montreal
MRAP-Québec (Mouvement contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme et pour la paix – ci-devant LICRA-Québec)
Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM), Montreal
Muslim Student Association of the University of Alberta
Muslim Student Association at the University of Waterloo
New England Committee to Defend Palestine
No One Is Illegal, Vancouver
No One Is Illegal, Montreal
No One Is Illegal, Toronto
New Socialist Group, Toronto
Niagara Palestinian Association
The Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation, Toronto
The NDP Westmount-Ville Marie Riding Association
L’Opération SalAMI, Montreal
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)
Ontario Public Interest Research Group at Carleton
Palestine Solidairty Group, Vancouver
Parole Arabe, Montreal
Palestinian & Jewish Unity (PAJU), Montreal
Parti Marxist-Leninst Quebec
Quebec Public Interest Research Group at Concordia
Quebec Public Interest Research Group at McGill
Rebel Desis, Montreal
Students for Palestinian Rights at the University of Waterloo
South Asian Women’s Community Center, Montreal
STATUS Coalition, Toronto
Solidarity with Iraqi & Palestinian Children at Carleton, Ottawa
Solidarité Union Coopération (SUCO), Montreal
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto
The Spot’ – K-W Youth Resource Centre
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War
Toronto Jewish Youth Against the Occupation
United Muslim Students Association, Montreal
United Holy Land Fund, Toronto
Union des forces progressistes, Quebec
Voices of Conscience (OCVC), Montreal
Women Against the Occupation, Canada