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The Student Christian Movement of Canada (SCM) stands in solidarity with Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian Citizen, and demands that the Canadian government allow Abdelrazik to return to Canada.
The Student Christian Movement (SCM) is an ecumenical network of student collectives engaged in spirituality and progressive social justice issues at universities across Canada. SCM Canada strives to be a healing community, embraces radical ecumenism and interreligious praxis, acts in solidarity with the oppressed, resists structures of domination, and works for justice in its varied forms and settings.
In this season of Easter, we, as Christians, remember the resurrection of Christ; an act which overturned injustice and proclaims freedom. In the case of Abousfian Abdelrazik, that transformational freedom in the face of oppression remains unrealized.
Abdelrazik has dual Canadian-Sudanese citizenship and has been in exile for six years, including one of which was spent on a cot in the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon refused him a passport on the grounds of “national security,” despite the fact that he has been fully exonerated of suspicions of terrorism by the US and the UN and he has not been charged with any crime. This act denies him the right to enter, remain in, or leave Canada, guaranteed to every Canadian by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In Sudan, Abdelrazik had been imprisoned without charge and subjected to brutal treatment involving torture. Therefore, he was unable to purchase a ticket to return to Canada himself. However, Abdelrazik had planned to return to Canada April 3, using a plane ticket bought by over 200 supporters from across Canada, despite the fact that the Canadian government threatened criminal charges for anyone who aided him in this way. Yet, Abdelrazik had been promised a passport from Passport Canada if he purchased a ticket, a promise that was broken by Cannon who denied him this passport on the day he was to fly.
The Canadian government is of course aware of the torture that Abdelrazik has faced and is likely to face if he remains in Sudan. By denying him entry to Canada, they are enabling this utterly inhumane treatment to continue, making them also culpable for this act, despite not partaking directly. As the Canadian government officially denounces such practices, it is essential that Abdelrazik be allowed entry into Canada immediately.
The SCM urges all Canadians to get in touch with their MPs and Foreign Affairs Minister Cannon to demand that Abdelrazik be allowed re-entry into Canada. Additionally, the SCM encourages individuals to support the work undertaken by Project Fly Home to aid in this endeavour, including organizing creative protests on April 28 and May 5 and writing messages of support to Abdelrazik.
Therefore, as the SCM, we stand in solidarity with Abousfian Abdelrazik and all others who have been marginalized by racial and ethnic profiling and other oppressive practices legitimized by appeals to “national security,” unsubstantiated allegations of terrorism, and detention without cause.
By proclaiming God’s preferential option for the poor and marginalized, we act in solidarity with the oppressed to resist structures of domination and realize justice in this world. (SCM Living Prayer Mission Statement)
As partners in the cause of justice and societal transformation,
Passed by Consensus, April 20, 2009, by the General Board of the Student Christian Movement of Canada
CALL FOR SUPPORT & ACTION
New Fly Home Date Set: 12 June
Delegation Set to Accompany Abousfian Abdelrazik Home
In response to an invitation issued by the Standing Committee for
Foreign Affairs, Abousfian has re-booked his flight home for 12 June
2009. Abousfian has again asked the government to issue the travel
document he needs to board the flight (see the application letter sent
to Lawrence Cannon via his lawyer at
If he is able to board his flight, Abousfian would arrive in time to
testify in front of the Standing Committee about his six years of
exile in Sudan before Parliament closes for the summer.
Abousfian's flight home was paid for by a solidarity fund to which over
250 people and organizations from across Canada and from all walks of life
have contributed, in defiance of the risk of being criminally charged for
making a financial contribution to Abousfian, whose name was placed on
the UN 1267 "black list" by the Bush administration.
A delegation will be traveling to Sudan to accompany Abousfian home on
12 June. The composition of the delegation will be announced in the
Abousfian has been living in limbo in the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum for
more than a year. On 3 April 2009, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon
refused him the travel document he needed to board a flight home to Canada,
after more than 100 people banded together to buy him a plane ticket home.
Cannon claimed that the UN 1267 list prevented Mr. Abdelrazik from flying
home, but the Coordinator of the UN monitoring committee for the 1267 list,
Mr. Richard Barrett, has since clarified that, "Whether it is Abdelrazik or
anybody else, it is up to the state in question whether they want to allow
the person to come back or not."
On 7 May, Abousfian's legal team asked the Federal Court to order the
government to bring him home by any safe means possible. The Court has not
yet rendered its decision.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT ABOUSFIAN COMING HOME ON 12 JUNE
1. Please contribute financially to the delegation. Make your check out to
"Solidarité sans frontières" and mark "Project Fly Home/People's Commission"
in the subject line. Send to 1984 Le Ber Montreal QC H3K 2A7.
2. Contact Foreign Affairs Minister LAWRENCE CANNON and let him know that
you are aware that the 1267 list has an exemption that allows people to
travel home. Ask him to allow Abousfian to board his flight on 12 June and
Telephone: (613) 992-5516
Fax: (613) 992-6802
3. Contact the MP for your neighbourhood and ask her or him to speak
up - in Parliament, in their local newsletters, or in the media - in
favour of Abousfian coming home on 12 June. You can find your MP's
contacts via www.parl.gc.ca.
4. Get in touch with others in your area to plan a local campaign
leading up to 12 June. See local contacts at
5. IMPORTANTLY, please send a solidarity note to Abousfian via
projectflyhome@gmail. The notes he receives from people are a lifeline
to him, and it is essential that they keep coming.
6. Ask your organization to endorse the campaign to bring Abousfian
Abdelrazik home to Canada.
Project Fly Home
Project Fly Home is an initiative of the People's Commission Network.
Special for the June 1st issue of People's Voice
Funding for aboriginal post-secondary education will be a top priority of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) together with campaigns to combat skyrocketing tuition fees in the upcoming 2009-2010 semester, the CFS has recently announced after a membership meeting in Ottawa.
Almost three hundred delegates attended the 55th CFS Semi-Annual General meeting during mid-May, which also addressed student debt and corporate influence on campuses especially at the governing board level, including how to increase student representation on governing boards.
There have been a number of provincial mobilizations of the Federation this past year, Katherine Giroux-Bougard, National Chairperson of the CFS, told the Peoples Voice, pointing to student actions like the occupation of the Manitoba Legislature and mass mobilizations across Ontario. The CFS, Giroux-Bougard said, is focusing around the upcoming Federal election as a forum to advance student’s issues.
“[Our] discussions around the last federal budget have shown how it was a missed opportunity to invest in public education,” Giroux-Bougard said, noting that the current US administration has provided greater funding towards research and accessibility than Mr. Harper’s Conservative government. A special guest to the meeting came from the United States Student Association.
Giroux-Bougard added that the Federal budget also short-changed students by providing no new funding to the Canada summer jobs programme.
“Overall, students live the burden of student debt every day, and understand well the detrimental impacts of reduced access to education,” Giroux-Bougard told PV. Through meetings like these, CFS membership votes on all motions, and develops strategy as well, she said. “I think that there is a lot of interest by members in carrying out an action plan engaged on the ground.”
Although there have been some positive developments on the provincial level such as Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario is rapidly moving to become the province in the with the highest tuition fees in the country.
National Chief Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations also addressed the meeting, highlighting the inadequate federal government role in aboriginal education. Since 1996 there has been a two per cent funding cap on many social programmes for Aboriginal peoples, including post-secondary support. This is despite persistent inflation and the biggest demographic boom in Canada among Aboriginal youth in the same time. Between 1996 and 2006 there has been a 47 per cent increase in the Aboriginal population.
According to the Assembly of First Nations, almost 2,600 eligible Aboriginal students were denied access to education funding last school year. Statistics Canada reports that 43 per cent of Aboriginal peoples have not obtained a high school diploma, while only 5 per cent have a university degree. (In the non-Aboriginal population the figure is 15 per cent for both, respectively).
The CFS has also prepared fact-sheets on the issue which note that while access to education is a right of all people, it is also a Treaty right recognized in the Canadian Constitution Act of 1982. The legacy of colonial education of Aboriginal peoples, however, includes residential schools and successive failed or inadequate government programmes including the current Post Secondary Student Support Programme.
Aboriginal peoples not only need more funding, one CFS fact-sheet says, noting that “the rights of aboriginal peoples to self-governance extend to control over the education process.” They call for Aboriginal-led institutions that enable Aboriginal instructors, students and elders to develop circular reflecting the needs of communities and empowering students.
“The number of aboriginal students with the grades to continue post-secondary education in no way matches the funding,” Giroux-Bougard said, adding that the National Aboriginal caucus is very active on the issue and that the CFS plans to make raise this item much more in their general campaign strategy.
On Friday, May 22nd, Cambridge, End Program, Broadcast Zero and The Rebel Spell played to a full house of punk rockers at the legendary venue in the downtown east side of Vancouver, Canada’s most impoverished neighborhood.
The show was a book launch event for local author Chris Walters new anti-Olympics novel, “Wrong”, which deals with the ongoing Olympic-inspired attack on the homeless and the poor and the growing resistance to it. Or, to borrow a common anti-Olympics slogan, “Fuck 2010!” It was a message that seemed to resonate with the crowd, not least with the YCL members and friends who were present.
Each of the bands took to the stage throughout the night pounding out politically charged punk rock tunes to a growing and increasingly energized crowd. Screaming along to one anthem of rebellion after another. Smashing into each at high velocity in the pit in an almost dialectical expression of solidarity and friendship.
Unlike so many shows, there were no crappy opening bands here. Each band was solid and well received by the crows. Finally, probably around midnight, The Rebel Spell took the stage, starting with “I am a Rifle” from their recent EP “Four Songs About Freedom.” The crowd exploded. When they played “See Through,” it was like the whole crowd was yelling “Fuck you, I see through you!” right at Gordo’s face. We wanted that ass hole to hear us all the way from his mansion in Point Grey.
If you’re not in Vancouver, you probably missed the show. But you’re in luck. The tour continues around western Canada throughout May and June and heads back to the East Coast in June/July. Check out http://www.broadcastzero.com/ for a list of tour dates.
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Rebel Youth offers a weekly pan-Canadian Socialist perspectives on the youth and student movement across Canada and internationally. Produced by the Young Communist League of Canada, we publish in print edition three times a year. Our sister magazine in French is Jeunesse Militante Write us (Rebel Youth 290A Danforth Ave, Toroto ON., M4K 1N6) to get copy of either publication - $12 CND. for four issues. Read the media that fights back. Because there is no time like now to organize!
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