De-listing Caravan Seeks Justice for Abdelrazik at the UN
Montreal activists travel to New York to abolish the UN 1267 blacklist
by Aaron Lakoff
New York City - June 17, 2011
A seven-person delegation of labour activists, religious community activists, indymedia journalists, and migrant justice organizers from Montreal joined Project Fly Home on a caravan to the United Nations in New York City today. Project Fly Home is a Montreal-based collective which has been working to support Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen of Sudanese origin who has been placed under severe sanctions by the UN 1267 committee.
The delegation, known as the “delisting caravan”, began in Montreal on Wednesday with a press conference.
-->To listen to audio from that press conference, visit:
Immediately following that, the caravan and supporters piled into cars to drive down to the US/Canadian border. Since Abdelrazik is not able to cross the border himself, he accompanied the caravan down to the border before driving back to Montreal with a dozen supporters.
On Thursday morning, the delegates met with German diplomats at Germany's Permanent Mission to the UN, as Germany is currently the chair of the UN 1267 committee. They were received by the officer-in-charge at the German Mission (delegated by the German Chair of the 1267-Committee), as well as the head of the 1267-Monitoring Group. The delegation had two simple demands for the 1267 committee: to remove Abdelrazik from the list, and to abolish the 1267 list altogether. The demands were backed by almost 100 organizations from across Canada.
Emilie Breton of Project Fly Home was the first person to address the UN committee representatives and the other UN diplomats at the meeting, outlining the plight of Abdelrazik, whose freedom was again taken away from him when he was placed on the UN 1267 blacklist in 2006. At the time, he was effectively in exile in Sudan, denied re-entry into Canada despite being a citizen. In 2009, a cross-Canada campaign was finally successful in bringing Abdelrazik back home to Canada, but since then, he has been subject to an asset freeze and denied the right to work or earn an income due to his placement on the list. In late May, the Quebec provincial government refused a child assistance benefit to his two children, again citing the 1267 list. All this comes years after the Canadian Secret Intelligence Services, which seems to have initiated the whole witch hunt against him, cleared Abdelrazik of all allegations of being a so-called “security threat”.
Following Breton's intervention, James Loney of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) spoke passionately to the German counsellor about the brutality that victims of the so-called “war on terror” face on a daily basis when their basic human rights are arbitrarily revoked. The German diplomats also heard from delegates from the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Muslim Forum, Artists for Peace, the Regina Solidarity Group and the South Asian Women's Community Centre.
Importantly, the diplomats at the UN committee also watched an emotional video address from Abdelrazik himself, since he was not allowed to be there in person. Abdelrazik invited the committee to come spend a day with him in Montreal, to better understand life in the 1267 prison.
-->To watch the video address of Abdelrazik to the UN, visit:
The delegation also delivered a package of letters from individuals across Canada who had deliberately broken the financial sanctions imposed on Mr. Abdelrazik to protest the unjust regime.
Following the meeting, the delegation held a press conference and speak-out outside the UN building on 1st avenue in New York City. They were joined by members of the Rude Mechanical Orchestra (www.rudemechanicalorchestra.org), a New York City radical marching band and dance troupe. The RMO brought lots of energy and passion to the speak out, which was also supported by some New York activists who came out in solidarity.
-->To listen to a clip of the Rude Mechanical Orchestra playing with the delegation, visit:
The Security Council will meet tomorrow morning to decide whether or not to renew the mandate of the 1267 Regime Ombudsperson and the Monitoring Group and will consider a series of reforms intended to respond to criticisms about the complete lack of fairness and transparency of the 1267 Blacklisting Regime. The 1267-Committee is also in the process of considering removing Taliban members from the list as part of a political agreement in Afghanistan, further throwing into question the purpose and future of the list. The delegation sent a letter to members of the Security Council requesting permission to participate in these meetings but received no response.
As for the delegation and Project Fly Home, they intend to keep pressing the UN 1267 committee until Abdelrazik is delisted, and the 1267 list is abolished.
Related articles and video:
Video: “Project Fly Home Delegates Discuss Meeting With UN German Mission Concerning Abousfian Abdelrazik's Status on the 1267 List”
Article: “The Tipping Point #1: Project Fly Home”