Support for US war resisters grows in Canada

IRAQ WAR resisters in Canada received an important victory in late September. On September 22 Jeremy Hinzman and his family successfully appealed their deportation order. The family was scheduled for deportation the next day.

Hinzman and his family were targeted with a deportation order after the Canadian government refused to grant them refugee status.

Jeremy Hinzman was the first deserter from the US army over the Iraq war to apply for refugee status in Canada.

He fled the US in 2004 when his army unit was ordered to leave for Iraq, arguing he could not participate in the war because it was illegal and participation would make him a war criminal.

Since the beginning of the Iraq war up to 200 war resisters have fled to Canada seeking refugee status, with around 40 of them joining the War Resisters Support Campaign.

Several have been deported to the US. Nine have been punished with time in US military prisons on charges of “refusal to obey orders” or “desertion”. Both charges are felony offences, destroying future employment prospects and other freedoms like travel and voting.

Hinzman ’s appeal only allows him to stay in Canada until their next appeal. Another war resister, Patrick Hart, faces deportation along with his wife and son when their application is reviewed in October. Several other war resisters are also awaiting the same fate.

There were demonstrations in about 20 cities in a co-ordinated day of action in mid-September. Chants of “Harper out, resisters in” rang out around Canada.

The campaign against the Canadian government’s opposition to war resisters staying in Canada is stepping up.

Many Canadians can see the impact it would have on the US army, already strained by the occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, if the country were to open its doors to deserters.

By Chris Curran


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