Canada Must Uphold International Law to Ensure Accountability for the Victims of War Crimes

On 4 November 2009, the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the
Gaza Conflict (Goldstone Report) is scheduled to be tabled before the Plenary of the UN
General Assembly in New York. Following the Report’s endorsement at the Human
Rights Council on 21 October 2009, it now falls to the General Assembly to ensure that
the Report is endorsed and its recommendations acted upon. The General Assembly
must promote and support the primacy of international law in the necessity of ensuring
justice and accountability for the war crimes and possible crimes against humanity that
characterized Israel’s assault on Gaza in December 2008-Janurary 2009.

The Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) calls upon the Canadian government to fully
endorse the Report and urge the General Assembly (GA) to adopt each of its
recommendations and to:

· fully endorse the Report of the Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict;
· urge the Security Council to endorse the Report, and to expeditiously pursue all
accountability mechanisms presented therein; and report to the General
Assembly on the progress in this matter;
· demand that credible internal domestic investigations and prosecutions be
carried out by the parties to the conflict in accordance with international
standards of impartiality, independence, promptness and effectiveness;
· establish an escrow fund for the purpose of compensating the victims of
violations of international law committed during Operation Cast Lead;
· request Switzerland to convene a conference of the High Contracting Parties to
the Geneva Conventions to ensure its respect;
· promote an urgent discussion on the use of munitions such as white
phosphorous (as mentioned in the Report), and a moratorium on their use by
Israel.

The international community of States, along with civil society, and the general public
must stand firm and united in upholding the conviction that both State and non-state
actors must respect international human rights and humanitarian law; that there is no
peace and security without justice; and that accountability for violations of international
law is fundamental.

For more information, please contact:

Khaled Mouammar
CAF National President
416-879-6766

Finally Justice Prevails for Adil Charkaoui

The Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) would like to congratulate Adil Charkaoui on the decision made by Federal Court Judge Danièle Tremblay-Lamer who issued an order today to lift all conditions of the security certificate and is soon to be completely revoked. Mr. Charkoui has been held on a Security Certificate since 2003 which required him to wear an electronic monitoring device at all times, post bail and an order that he not associate with certain people. Security Certificates allow for CSIS to keep the evidence secret and present it to judges and ministers in secret hearings which is a gross violation of civil liberties. CAF is thankful that, although delayed, justice has prevailed in the case of Mr. Charkaoui. CAF was one of the interveners with the supreme court in 2007 when the court struck down the security certificate provision in Canada’s immigration law as unconstitutional because of the security hearing process.

This decision comes a day after Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin’s stated that “The fear and anger that terrorism produces… may lead governments to curtail civil liberties and seek recourse in tactics they might otherwise deplore … that may not, in the clearer light of retrospect, be necessary or defensible”. This has been the case with the treatment of many Arab and Muslim Canadians including Maher Arar, Adil Charkaoui, Abousfian Abdelrazik and the three men included in the Iacobucci internal inquiry: Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin.

CAF also supports Abousfian Abdelrazik as he sues the government and Foreign Minister, Lawrence Cannon, personally for $ 27 million in compensation after he spent nearly six years in prison or forced exile while his attempts to come home were thwarted. “CAF calls on the government to publicly apologize to Adil Charkaoui, Abousfian Abdirazik and Suad Hagi Mohamud and compensate them accordingly” added Khaled Mouammar CAF president. CAF also believes that all those who have been wrongfully detained should receive compensation and public apologies from the Canadian government. CAF Executive Director Mohamed Boudjenane added “In light of recent developments with Mr. Charkaoui’s case, the cases of other Security Certificate victims should be assessed immediately. Justice delayed is justice denied and it is time people get their lives back.”

UN Fact Finding Mission finds strong evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Gaza conflict; calls for end to impunity

NEW YORK / GENEVA – The UN Fact-Finding Mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone on Tuesday released its long-awaited report on the Gaza conflict, in which it concluded there is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.

Download the rest of the report here.

Canadian government owes a public apology to Suaad Hagi Mohamud

The Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) finds the treatment Suaad Hagi Mohamud received at the hands of Canadian officials to be disgraceful. We echo the sentiments of Premier McGuinty of Ontario that “something is fundamentally wrong when we can’t count on the Canadian government to stand up for Canadians.”

Suaad’s ordeal is yet another example of how Mr. Harper’s government is out of touch with Canadians. Just as with the case of Abousfian Abdelrazik, the Canadian government seems indifferent to the plight faced abroad by a growing number of Canadians. It appears that the Canadian government is trying to create two types of citizenship based on one’s religion and skin colour.

CAF is relieved that Suaad has been cleared to come home. However, we want processes put in place to ensure that this never happens again. CAF joins Ms. Mohamud in demanding an apology from the Harper government for the hardship that she and her family experienced over this ordeal.

CAF Disassociates Itself From Recent Comments

The Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) is proud of its Canadian identity and heritage and
would like to disassociate itself from recent comments attributed to one of its members.
The comments made are in no way reflective of CAF nor its feelings towards Canada.
CAF sent out a Canada Day Greeting to its members and general public on June 30
2009 and continues to wish all Canadians a Happy Canada Day.

For more information, please contact:

Mohamed Boudjenane
CAF Executive Director
416-889-6764
ed@caf.ca