2.08.2006

appeal

US war resister Jeremy Hinzman will be in Federal court today, appealing the Canadian Immigration Board's decision to deny him refugee status.

Hinzman is one of about 20 American soldiers whose objections to the invasion of Iraq brought them to Canada. (Hinzman's attorney, Jeffry House, says that another 150-180 people are watching the outcome of this case before they act.) The Immigration Board ruled that Hinzman does not qualify for political asylum, because he is not a conscientious objector or a pacifist - he objects to a specific war, not all war. In addition, they ruled that US is a democratic country and would provide Hinzman with a fair trial. Hinzman faces a court martial and five years in prison if he returns to the US.

It's pretty clear that Canadian refugee law, although very generous, doesn't include a provision for Hinzman's circumstances. Naturally I wish it did. When I blogged about Hinzman back in March, a Toronto Star columnist had a good idea for how Canada could help Hinzman, and it would have applied to me, too.

Hinzman's website is here, although it appears not to be updated frequently. Brandon Hughey, another US war resister, has a good website, too.

I admire and respect these men, for their choices and their moral courage. I'm glad they were able to live here during their application and hearing process. I just wish there was something more Canada could do.

4 comments:

M@ said...

Personally, I'm preparing my couch for draft dodgers when the draft returns to the USA. Assuming my cousins and other relatives don't need it.

However, I can't really argue with Canada's refugee policy. We could deny extradition on almost any basis if prosecution were a factor in the claim.

I think the real problem is the agreement between Canada and the USA that was signed, I believe, in the late 70s, in which Canada agreed not to harbour draft dodgers as we did during the Vietnam war.

The government probably figured that after the Vietnam debacle, there was no way the USA would get into a stupid, unnecessary, and unwinnable war again. And the cold war was on, and George Bush was a young man with a head full of coke, and all was well with the world.

It's unfortunate; we really never should have signed that agreement.

L-girl said...

My couch is ready, too. First priority to our five draft-age nieces and nephews.

The government probably figured that after the Vietnam debacle, there was no way the USA would get into a stupid, unnecessary, and unwinnable war again.

More likely they just wanted better relations with their big trading partner.

Carrie said...

I was wondering what was happening with his case.

Here's my idea - tell the USA to honour their Softwood Lumber agreement under NAFTA. Tell them we require 1 full year of the agreement being honoured to prove they will keep their word this time. And then say we will hand over Hinzman. But when the year is up, conveniently forget and claim he's no longer here. That gives CSIS time to get him new I.D. and protection and a move elsewhere in Canada ;)

I know. I'm dreaming. But it's not a bad plan :) I wish he could stay.

M@ said...

More likely they just wanted better relations with their big trading partner.

Oh, for sure -- let's face it, that's Canada's main motivation for any agreement with the USA. But I think it's significant that this agreement wasn't signed until well after the Vietnam war.

Carrie, I like your plan a lot.