TORONTO (Sep. 1)
The Canadian Jewish Congress has denounced as “discriminatory” the acquiescence of the Canadian government to a request to exclude Jews, women and those of Arab extraction from the Canadian military contingent sent to monitor the cease-fire between Iran and Iraq.
Dorothy Reitman, president of the CJC, said in a statement issued here that while Canadian participation is “laudable,” it is unfortunate that conditions not acceptable and “illegal” would be acceded to by Canada.
A total of 500 Canadian personnel will be sent to the Gulf region as part of Canada’s contingent to monitor the truce between the two countries.
Captain Don Ryan of the Department of Defense confirmed that Canada will not send Jews, women or persons of Arab origin to the region.
“There are sensitivities in that area, so we don’t want to jeopardize peacekeeping efforts by putting someone in who could inflame the situation,” he said.
“This whole approach is discriminatory by definition and is un-Canadian,” Reitman stated. “If these conditions were insisted upon by Iranian and Iraqi protagonists, it is a sad but not unexpected commentary on the undemocratic nature of their regimes, which have a long history of human rights violations.”
Reitman added that if Canada wishes to exclude certain personnel for their own safety, “that would be an internal decision, but to openly cooperate with measures that violate the Canadian Human Rights Code and the Charter of Rights sends the wrong message.”