March 26, 2018
The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, PC MP,
Prime Minister of Canada,
24 Sussex Drive,
Ottawa, ON., K1M 1M4
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
We, the members of the Yemeni Community in Canada and our friends in the broader Canadian society wish to draw your attention to the third anniversary of the Saudi Arabia ongoing war on Yemen.
Since March 26th 2015, the Saudi-led coalition has been responsible for unrelenting military attacks marked by extensive war crimes in Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, and caused many thousands of deaths and immense suffering. Not only military targets but schools, factories, hospitals (including Doctors Without Borders mobile clinics) and even funeral processions have been bombed. A cement factory was bombed five times; a flour producing factory four times. There appears to be no end in sight of the determination of the Saudi-led forces to continue bombing and no willingness of Saudi-led forces to stop bombing this poor country and its impoverished people.
Back in August 2015, five months after the war started, the President of the international Red Cross observed, “Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years”. Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator said, in November 2017, “It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades”. In January 2016, Michael Seawright, then MSF Project Coordinator In Yemen till they had to evacuate from North of Yemen due to indiscriminate bombings, said “I’ve worked in war zones for the past 11 to 12 years, in some of the worst conflicts like Syria, but I have never seen such destruction conducted in such a short period as in Yemen.”
There is cholera epidemic raging that has afflicted more than one million children, described by the British daily The Guardian, as the worst epidemic in history (October 12, 2017). The Saudis and their allies have also imposed a tight siege on Yemen preventing desperately needed medicines and food from reaching the people. This is a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Some 26 million Yemenis are affected by the siege.
We write to you Mr. Prime Minister to seek your intervention in this horrific humanitarian and human rights crisis and tragedy and to help bring an end to the suffering of the Yemeni people. We request in particular the following three steps from the Canadian Government:
- We call upon you to halt all arms shipments to the Saudi regime that may be used in the conflict in Yemen. This includes the sale of the $15 billion light armored vehicle deal. Sweden and Germany have already done so.
- Canada should lead an international effort to bring an immediate end to indiscriminate and deliberate Saudi-led attacks on civilians which constitute war crimes in Yemen;
- And finally, Canada through its international partners should demand an immediate lifting of the siege and delivery of much-needed medicines and food to the people of Yemen.
We are confident Mr. Prime Minister that you will not fail us and take the only stand possible: to bring an end to the misery and suffering of the Yemeni people.
We thank you in advance for your consideration of our plea for help. Please find attached some press news articles from credible sources describing the horrific situation in Yemen.
President of the Yemeni Community in Canada
This letter has been endorsed by the following organizations/Individuals:
|Name of Organization||Contact Person||Position/Title|
|1||Amnesty International Canada||Alex Neve||Secretary General|
|2||Rideau Institute on International Affairs||Peggy Mason||President, Former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament to the UN|
|3||Group of 78||Roy Culpeper||Chair: Group of 78|
|4||Parliament of Canada
|Hélène Laverdière||Member of Parliament for Laurier – Sainte-Marie, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic.|
|5||World Federalist Movement – Canada||Fergus Watt||Executive Director|
|6||Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada – LRWC||Gail Davidson||Member of the Board of Directors|
|7||Justice without Borders||Kamel El-Cheikh||Vice-President|
|8||Canadian Defenders for Human Rights||Firas Al Najim||HR Defender, Manager|
|9||Muslim Society of Ottawa||Jaffar Hashmi||President|
|10||The United Church of Canada||Rev. Michael Blair||Executive Minister, Church in Mission Unit|
|11||Artists for Peace (Les Artistes pour la paix)||Pierre Jasmin||Vice President /
Professor at Université du Québec à Montréal
|12||Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East||Thomas Woodley||President|
|13||Global Importune||Mark Konrad||Executive Director|
|14||Collective Human Rights Defenders “Laura Acosta” International Organization (COHURIDELA)||Lilian Julieth Guilombo||Founder|
|15||Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)||Alison Bodine||Chair|
|16||Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice (FTT)||Thomas Davies||Editorial Board Member|
|17||Canadian Human Rights International Organization- CHRIO||Mario Guilombo||Founder, Human Rights Program & International Missions Director|
|18||AlBaqir Academy||Imam Dr. Usama Al-Atar
(ex-detainee in Saudi Arabia)
|19||Mosque and School of Ahlul Bayt||Hussein Dabaja||President|
|20||ISIJ||Shafiq Ebrahim||Vice President|
|21||Task Force on Peace and Justice (Burma Task Force)||Ahmed Ramadan||Executive Director|
|22||Islamic Humanitarian Service||Shafiq Hudda||Office Manager|