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U.S. Veterans Urge Canada to Let War Resister Stay

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OPEN LETTER TO THE CANADIAN PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT

Dear Canadians,

We
are writing you on behalf of thousands of military veterans in the
United States who believe that Kimberly Rivera and her family should be
allowed to remain in Canada.

As a U.S. soldier, Kimberly Rivera
spent six months in Iraq where she witnessed the injustice caused by
illegal U.S. war. Home on leave in the U.S., she decided that she could
not in good conscience continue to be part of the U.S. occupation of
Iraq. Kimberly Rivera drove to Canada hoping to find a safe haven for
herself, her husband, and their two young children.

Since
arriving in Canada five years ago, the Riveras have had two more
children, who are Canadian citizens by virtue of being born in Canada.
How tragic it will be if these children are deported to the U.S. and
then separated from their mother, who would be court-martialed and
imprisoned.

Veterans For Peace includes members who fought in the
Vietnam War, and also veterans who refused to go to Vietnam and found a
safe haven in Canada.

We are extremely grateful to the Canadian
people for providing us with sanctuary, along with so much
understanding, love and care. Thirty thousand Americans who immigrated
to Canada during the Vietnam War are now Canadian citizens who have led
productive lives in the arts, academia, media, business and law.

We
also want to thank the many Canadians who have supported our young men
and women who did not want to return to the carnage of war in Iraq.
According to polls, two-thirds of the Canadian people believe that U.S.
war resisters should be allowed to remain in Canada. We are very
grateful to the community groups, churches, unions, and Members of
Parliament who have given so much support to these young people of
conscience.

According to the UN Handbook on Refugees, soldiers
who refuse to fight in wars that are widely condemned by the
international community should be considered as refugees. Unfortunately,
the Immigration and Refugee Board in Canada has yet to grant asylum to a
single person who refused to kill in the war against Iraq, a war that
has most certainly been condemned by peoples and nations around the
globe.

Surely there are humanitarian grounds that the Canadian
government might invoke to keep Kimberly Rivera and other Iraq and
Afghanistan war resisters from being deported to certain imprisonment in
the United States.

Veterans For Peace believes that nobody who
conscientiously refuses to be part of war should be punished. At our
recent national convention, we called on the U.S. government to grant an
unconditional amnesty to all war resisters. We will be working toward
this goal in the coming months. In the meantime, we call upon the
Canadian government to show compassion for these courageous
conscientious objectors.

Please do not deport Kimberly Rivera and
her four young children to the U.S., where she will face persecution
and imprisonment, and her children will experience the trauma of
separation from their mother.

The mission of Veterans For Peace
is to abolish war altogether. We believe that this goal can be realized
and must be realized if human civilization is to survive. Those powerful
people who pursue wars of mass destruction are the ones who should be
punished, not the poor people we are forced to fight wars for the one
percent.

We hope the Canadian government will do its best to
represent the will of the peace-loving Canadian people. Please let
Kimberly Rivera stay. You will be glad that you did.

Sincerely for Peace,

Leah Bolger, President
Gerry Condon, Board of Directors
Veterans For Peace

 

http://davidswanson.org

David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 
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