Open Letter to Canadian government
Petition for the protection of AWOL soldiers seeking refuge from persecution in Canada
(09.12.2010) To the Canadian Government and the Members of the Canadian Parliament
Dear Sir or Madam,
War is a crime against humanity.
Everybody who evades war, all the soldiers who desert, who refuse to do military service, set an example for peace. They deserve our support and solidarity.
Nine years ago the USA with the help of NATO started a war on Afghanistan that was said to be a war against terror, but led to nothing but a spiral of grief, hate and violence. Like in the war on Iraq (that the USA supported by Great Britain started under an obviously made-up pretext and breaking international law) it’s the civilian population that suffers most, but civilian victims are generously allowed for in military operations.
The US soldiers deployed in this war are professional soldiers, but the majority of them let themselves be recruited to a temporary job with the army because of severe social need.
Confronted with injuries, death, acts of violence and war crime many soldiers gradually realised that their deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan was a horror that they could only evade by taking flight. This way the number of AWOL soldiers has risen over the last years. They refuse to be involved in military action that violates international law, thus acting according to human rights.
Since the invasion in Iraq more than 25,000 members of the US forces have evaded a deployment that wasn’t reconcilable with their conscience though running considerable risk of a long prison sentence and an uncertain future. Some of these AWOL soldiers try to get a permanent residence permit in Canada.
Thirty years ago 50,000 US deserters (mostly draftees) found a safe refuge in Canada to escape the war in Vietnam.
According to current surveys two thirds of the Canadian population agree with a residence permit for soldiers who evade a deployment that violates international law. But at the end of September 2010 a corresponding bill offering AWOL US-soldiers the right to permanent residence in Canada was rejected by the Canadian parliament in the second reading. This way the practice of deportation by Canadian authorities couldn’t be stopped. Since 2008 several AWOL US-soldiers have been deported to the USA where they were given prison sentences of 9 to 15 months. Hundreds of US-deserters are being threatened by a similar or worse fate.
We demand the Canadian government and parliament to do justice to popular request and to grant AWOL soldiers and persecuted men and women safe permanent residence.
Residence permit for AWOL soldiers from the USA and other countries, no deportation to their home countries!
Düsseldorf (Germany), December 9, 2010
Aktionsbündnis gegen Militarismus und Krieg (amk) Düsseldorf; Antifa Velbert; Buchladen Bibabuze Düsseldorf; Connection e. V.; Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft - Vereinigte KriegsdienstgegnerInnen (DFG-VK)-Gruppen: Düsseldorf - Wuppertal, Kleve, Neuss; ethecon (Stiftung Ethik & Ökonomie) Berlin; Flüchtlingsrat Düsseldorf; Motorradfahrer/innen ohne Grenzen; Unterstützerkreis Andre Shepherd Düsseldorf – Niederrhein; Vereinigung demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen Regionalgruppe Düsseldorf;
Axel Köhler-Schnura; Eva Klippenstein; Edith Sarkar-Kuhnke