CEP pleads to support Kimberly Rivera and her family
On behalf of 110,000 CEP members across the country, National President Dave Coles is pleading Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to grant Kimberly Rivera's application to stay in Canada. Rivera is an Iraq war resister who has been living here with her family since 2007.
"Kimberly Rivera is a young woman who joined the army due to financial necessity, who saw with her own eyes the real impact of the US military presence in Iraq and who consciously chose to refuse to fight any longer in that war," said Dave Coles. "Canada has a long history of supporting war resisters and it's not time for that to change."
Rivera is a former US soldier who was posted in Iraq and who became disillusioned with the on-the-ground reality of civilian casualties and the loss and fear caused by the US military to iraqi families. She has received a deportation order that will force her to leave Canada on September 20 and go to the United States where an arrest warrant awaits her.
Amnesty International Canada has called her a conscientious objector and has said they would consider Rivera a prisoner of conscience if she were imprisoned, which is a likely scenario if Ottawa expels her. She will likely spend a year or more in prison for refusing to fight and for loudly criticizing the Iraq war.
The Harper government has chosen to break with Canada's tradition of providing sanctuary for conscientious objectors. Despite Parliament adopting two motions calling for Iraq war resisters to be allowed to stay, in July 2010 Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney directed immigration officers to red-flag these individuals' applications. On another occasion the Minister publicly labelled Iraq war resisters "bogus refugee claimants", ensuring they wouldn't receive a fair hearing before the refugee board.
"I encourage CEP members to call on Minister Jason Kenney to cancel Rivera's deportation order and allow her to carry on with her life with her family here in Canada," added Coles.
For more information on Kimberly Rivera's story, click here.
To sign the petition to allow Kimberly Rivera to stay in Canada, click here.