(Details below the description)
November 14 marks a bittersweet day for Jack Letts, a Canadian citizen wrongfully detained in Syria for 5 and a half years. An idealistic teenager who went abroad to support the Arab Spring aspirations of the Syrian people, he has been detained under conditions the UN calls tantamount to torture because the Canadian government refuses to bring him home. A staunch opponent of Daesh – he was in fact imprisoned by them on numerous occasions for speaking out against their violence – Jack has also been the subject of a vicious smear campaign based on the fruits of his own torture (learn more at http://homesnotbombs.blogspot.com/2022/03/canada-must-stop-monstering-jack-letts.html)
The United Nations recently condemned Canada’s complicity in Jack’s arbitrary detention and slammed Ottawa for breaching international law. It has also condemned Canadian participation in the ongoing detention of 44 Canadian men, women and children in the same series of prisons and detention camps known as “Canada’s and Europe’s Guantanamo.” (See http://homesnotbombs.blogspot.com/2022/09/un-slams-canadas-failure-to-repatriate.html)
While other countries from Kazakhstan, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Netherlands, Albania, France, the USA, Germany, Iraq and Russia have repatriated their citizens, the Canadians continue to suffer, with their loved ones forced to head to Federal Court demanding the Canadian government exercise its responsibility to bring them home. Ironically, these Canadians are held by a Canadian ally in Rojava, who have only ever asked for two things: for Canada to send someone to the region, and to sign repatriation papers once there. That’s it. In fact, Canada was within one week of doing so in 2018 when it engaged in a complete about face that appears linked to a cover-up over Canadian spy agency CSIS trafficking of teenaged girls to the region.
Global Affairs Canada Minister Mélanie Joly is responsible for the fate of these Canadians, including Jack Letts. Because it is impossible for Canadians to send mail to the prisons and camps in Rojava, we are sending birthday cards (postage free) c/o Mélanie Joly as a symbolic reminder of her responsibility to Jack and the other Canadians.
HOW THIS WORKS
1. Make your own card or purchase a birthday card for Jack
2. Inside, write a brief note wishing him a happy birthday and letting him know that you support his right not to be arbitrarily detained and his right to return to Canada, along with the other men, women and kids illegally held in Syria.
3. If you can, please take a selfie with your card to Jack that we can share on social media and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Also enclose a brief note that reads thusly (feel free to print this portion and include it in your card):
Dear Mélanie Joly,
As you know, some
four dozen Canadians remain arbitrarily detained in NE Syria largely
because Global Affairs Canada has refused to take the necessary steps to bring
them home. While four women and children were repatriated at the end of October, some 40 individuals remain stuck under appalling conditions akin to torture.
In January 2022, the International Committee of the Red Cross declared: “States must repatriate their own citizens. Not just children. Children, women and men.” At the same time, Dr. Abdulkarim Omar, co-chair of the Kurdish administration’s foreign office in Northeast Syria, reiterated what they have been saying for years: “Every country should take its citizens back.” On January 31, 2022, the US State Department called on its partners to “urgently repatriate their nationals and other detainees remaining in northeast Syria.”
Closer to home, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development also recommended repatriation in June 2021.
How can the government of Canada, which played a lead role in drafting and signing a global pact on ending arbitrary detention, refuse to take immediate action to end the arbitrary detention of Canadian men, women and children enduring conditions that the United Nations has described as meeting the “threshold for torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment under international law”?
Your mandate letter mentions ending arbitrary detention four times!
I support the repatriation of these 8 Canadian men, 11 Canadian women and 21 Canadian children. One of them, Jack Letts, has a birthday on November 14. His 27th birthday marks 5.5 years in arbitrary detention. I cannot mail anything to his prison, but since you are legally responsible for Jack’s well-being and the safety of the other Canadians, I am mailing this card for Jack to you.
I am sure one of Jack’s birthday wishes is to be back home in Canada with his mom. Please make this happen, stop fighting Jack’s family and other Canadians in court, close Canada’s Guantanamo, and bring everyone home.
Mail a card and this note (postage free!) directly to:
c/o House of Commons