Montreal, March 6, 2013 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) has released detailed recommendations for Canadian policies to address the Syrian crisis. They include:
- Provide 4.5 percent of the total OECD support for humanitarian relief for Syrian refugees and internally displaced.
- Fast-track Syrian refugee and immigration applications, and resettle in Canada 30,000 Syrian refugees and internally displaced over the next 12 months.
- Help Palestinian refugees in Syria who are caught in the conflict; resettle in Canada 10,000 of the nearly half a million Palestinian refugees normally resident in Syria; restore funding for UNRWA’s core programmes; respond more generously to UNRWA’s emergency appeal.
- Support international efforts for a non-military solution to the Syrian civil war.
- Support UN efforts to legally pursue war criminals in Syria.
- Ensure that Canadian military exports do not wind up in the hands of either side in the Syria conflict; suspend all Canadian military exports destined for end use by Saudi Arabia.
“Canada must do its fair share to meet the needs of the victims of Syria’s civil war and do its utmost to promote a non-military solution to the conflict,” says CJPME President Thomas Woodley. CJPME urges the Harper government to make fundamental human rights and Syrians’ basic economic needs—rather than promotion of Canadian corporate interests—its top priority in its approach to Syria.
“Canada must also accept that the full spectrum of Syrian political opinion—including forces that may not share the Harper government’s Middle East stances—must be represented in any post-conflict government,” cautions Woodley. CJPME warns that approaches based on the exclusion of the entirety of the Baath party—or other political currents that also enjoy grassroots support—from a post-conflict government are doomed to failure. Syria’s opposition has said it is willing to work with certain segments of the former governing party, although not Assad or his closest associates.
CJPME notes that so far the Canadian government appears to be ignoring the needs of a particularly vulnerable group caught in the middle of the Syrian conflict: the half million Palestinians living in refugee camps in Syria. At least 34,000 of these refugees have fled to Lebanon and Jordan, countries already reeling from the influx of Syrian refugees. CJPME observes that in any civil war, foreigners are particularly at risk; Palestinian refugees have already been violently attacked and forcibly recruited by both sides of the Syrian conflict. CJPME urges MPs of all stripes to insist that Canada’s policies on the Syrian conflict respect Syrians’ right to choose economic and political models that correspond to their values and interests.
For the full text of the policy paper, click here.
About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.
For more information, please contact Patricia Jean, 438 380 5410
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org
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