U.S. Iraq war resister Corey Glass was told on May 21 that his application to stay in Canada has been rejected and he now faces deportation. Glass would be the first Iraq war resister to be deported from Canada.
This is not just an immigration or moral issue – it is an issue of international law. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the Iraq war illegal, and the war crimes and crimes against humanity that have occurred throughout the war are well-documented.
Canada cannot pretend to support international law while denying sanctuary to those fleeing war crimes and crimes against humanity. If we expect individuals to uphold international law, then it follows that we must support them and provide sanctuary when they believe they are being asked to do something that violates international law.
If we fail to do so, then we lose all right to prosecute individuals for crimes they have committed, and the Nuremberg principles and the International Criminal Court will cease to have relevance.
I am saddened and ashamed by the failure of our current immigration/refugee system and our Supreme Court to understand this, and by their seeming insistence that languishing for years in a military prison is not persecution.
It is time for new legislation in Ottawa that clearly outlines our commitments and responsibilities under international law. Providing sanctuary to those fleeing from acts they believe are unlawful should be addressed as an immediate priority.
Jillian Skeet, Vancouver, B.C.
I am writing concerning the decision to refuse to allow U.S. Iraq war resister Corey Glass to stay in Canada. I am extremely saddened and angry to hear that our government has refused to grant him sanctuary. Did our country not refuse to participate in the Iraq war because we sided with the UN in declaring this to be an illegal and unjust war? Yet by sending Glass back to the U.S., we are basically giving a message to the United States that we agree that Glass and others like him should either have to go back to fighting this unjust and illegal war or be imprisoned for refusing to do so. That is pure hypocrisy on the part of our government. If we want to be consistent in our stance against the Iraq war, we must provide sanctuary for resisters like Glass.
Naomi Berlyne, Toronto
In refusing to provide a haven for Americans refusing to serve in Iraq, the government is violating the principles laid down at Nuremberg. The Iraq attack and subsequent occupation is a war crime. As stated at Nuremberg by the allied judiciary, it is the duty of armed services personnel to refuse to obey orders to commit a war crime. This government is betraying everything Canadian soldiers fought and died for in World War II. The Harper government is not only a disgrace to Canada, it is a disgrace to humanity.
Bill Prestwich, Dundas, Ont.
"an issue of international law"
These letters to the editor ran in the Toronto Star last week. All three letters were in support of allowing Iraq War resisters to remain in Canada.