Close Canada's Guantanamo Bay!
Five Muslim Men in
Detained years without charge
Jailed on secret "evidence"
Fighting deportation to torture
Get on Board: Freedom Caravan and "Camp Hope," Toronto-Ottawa: June 3-16, 2006
Join a nonviolent community on wheels as we travel through dozens of communities between Toronto and Ottawa (June 3-10) and set up "Camp Hope" (June 11-16) at the steps of the Supreme Court, site of an historic three days of hearings on the grave human rights abuses stemming from Canada's secret trials.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. A right delayed is a right denied. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Throughout history, long-distance journeys have played a key role in social justice struggles. In Canada, there have been cross-country caravans in solidarity with First Nations struggles, long-distance walks for refugee rights, freedom rides, and treks by train, such as the 1930s "On to Ottawa" anti-poverty mobilization.
Such journeys are both political and spiritual pilgrimages, opportunities to get beyond the world of sound-bite politics and engage in dialogue at a slower pace.
Five Years of
For five years, efforts to end secret trials in Canada and deportations to torture have involved a wide variety of actions, from long-distance walks and 24-hour vigils to sit-ins, court support, educational efforts, theatrical productions, and Ottawa lobbying.
Yet four men remain detained behind bars without charge or bail, and a fifth struggles with absurdly draconian conditions of "release." The United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and thousands of Canadians have called for an end to such abuses.
Hearings are NOT the End of the
Although the Supreme Court hearings will be a significant moment, they are not the end of the road. Indeed, no matter how the Court rules, spy agency CSIS and the cruel bureaucracy of Canadian Immigration are likely to continue their harassment of immigrant and refugee communities. The Secret Trial Five will likely be denied freedom for some time to come, so we must continue our protests and support for the men and their families.
This June, we have a unique opportunity to focus nationwide attention on the serious human rights abuses committed by the Canadian government against five men and their families (Mohammad Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah, Hassan Almrei, Mohamed Harkat, and Adil Charkaoui) as well as on the much larger systemic forms of racism and repression directed against refugee and immigrant communities.
What Will the Freedom Caravan and Camp Hope Look Like?
The period June 3-16 is divided into two distinct parts:
1. The Caravan
There will be lots to do each day. After breakfast, we will pack and head out to the next town, where we will disembark, pull out banners, placards, and flyers, and blanket the community with information and discussion, whether in town squares or shopping malls, at high schools, in front of MPs offices. We will then travel to the next town, stop for lunch, and continue throughout the day with rest spots along the way. Following dinner, there will usually be an evening procession, and then a review of the day. We will all have experiences to share and reflect on, and we will also need to discuss a variety of issues to maintain a smoothly-running community caravan!
Each night we will sleep in a church or community hall (men and women in separate rooms), and attempt to arrange alternative billeting for anyone with special needs (please let us know about these far in advance!). We will also attempt to accommodate religious needs (such as Halal food, prayer time). We'll attempt to arrange showers where available and meals will be provided in each town.
2. Camp Hope in
Ottawa (June 11-16)
Using the spacious grounds in front of the Supreme Court as a daytime gathering point and for a continuous daylight vigil, we will hold a variety of demonstrations and delegations to government institutions each day, with a final visit to "Camp CSIS" on Friday. Accommodation and food will be provided in Ottawa
Sleeping bag, pillow, change of clothes, medications, good walking shoes, re-usable water bottle, sunscreen, sun glasses, a hat to protect against the sun, pocket money for snacks. A sense of humour will help too!
Spirit of the
This is very much a project in the spirit of the civil rights movement. We ask those who join us to abide by a spirit of openness to all we meet, nonviolence in word and deed, and respect for each other and our opponents, some of whom we are likely to meet on the way. This is very much a community effort: we all share in the tasks of food preparation, clean-up, taking care of one another, and leaving our host spaces in mint condition!
Do You Have a
For those who own vehicles, we hope you can contact us and let us know how many people you can take and how much trunk space you have.
Can't spend the whole time on the
You can join the caravan for a couple of days anywhere along the route. It is up to you. If you plan to join us in Belleville, for example, let us know and we'll arrange to meet you at the bus or train station.
If you can't join the caravan, please consider making a financial contribution towards our costs. Cheques can be made out to Homes not Bombs (earmarked "caravan") and sent to PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto, ON M6C 1C0.
If you'd like to join Freedom Caravan and Camp Hope, please contact us as soon as possible with information on how long you can join us, if you have a vehicle, and if you will be on certain parts of the caravan and/or at Camp Hope in Ottawa.
(some cities subject to change --
check website for final schedule)
Sat., June 3: Toronto, Markham, Ajax, Pickering, Whitby, Oshawa
Sun., June 4: Bowmanville, Lindsay, Peterborough
Mon., June 5: Port Hope, Cobourg, Colborne, Brighton
Tues., June 6: Trenton, Picton, Bloomfield, Belleville
Wed., June 7: Napanee, Deseronto, Bath (Millhaven), Kingston
Thurs., June 8: Gananoque, Mallorytown, Brockville, Prescott
Fri., June 9: Perth, Carleton Place, Smiths Falls
Sat., June 10: Kemptville, North Gower, Manotick, Nepean, CSIS National Headquarters
June 11-16: "Camp Hope," Ottawa, a week of vigils, delegations, nonviolent actions
Free Canada's Secret Trial Detainees
' End Secret Trials in Canada
' End Deportations to Torture
' End Arbitrary Detention Without Charge
' End RCMP/CSIS Harassment of Immigrant Communities
' Create A Just, Fair System for Refugees
ADDITIONAL THINGS YOU CAN DO
(Upcoming events include a People's Commission on Immigration Security Measures, A Freedom Caravan to Ottawa, a nationwide banner making project, and a week of vigils in Ottawa....)
1. LOBBY CAMPAIGN: Challenge your MP (20 March to 22 May 2006) From the end of March until the third week in May, you are invited to challenge your MP to take a position on security certificates. Are they willing to take a stand? To get a kit that you can bring or mail to your MP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and or visit the special page at www.adilinfo.org to download the kit. The essential part is a follow up by phone or a visit.
2. PEOPLE'S COMMISSION on Immigration Security Measures, March through May 2006
*Public Consultations across the country through March and April (see www.peoplescommission.ath.cx for details)
*10 April Deadline to apply to speak at Public Hearings (find out how via our website)
*Public Hearings, 21 to 23 April, Montreal
*23 April Deadline to make written or recorded submissions to the Commission (find out how via our website)
*end May Preliminary Report of the People's Commission
More info: email@example.com, tel 514 859 9023, www.peoplescommission.ath.cx
3. FREEDOM CARAVAN TO OTTAWA (June 3-10)
From June 3-10, friends and family of the secret trial detainees invite you to join a community on wheels as we travel through each community between Toronto and Ottawa, organizing public processions and vigils, handing out flyers, engaging in dialogue, meeting MPs, and blanketing the area with information about the abuses of secret trials. Meals and overnight accommodation will be provided. To book a ride on the freedom caravan or offer a vehicle for use, please contact (416) 651-5800 or firstname.lastname@example.org In addition, a Montreal to Ottawa Caravan is also in the works.
4. CAMP HOPE (June 11-16)
Upon our arrival in Ottawa, we will set up camp at the Supreme Court of Canada, holding day-long vigils, sending delegations to appropriate government agencies, and being a constant national reminder of the shame of secret trials. Overnight accommodation will be provided. The end of the week will feature a large, nonviolent direct action at the national conspiracy headquarters of CSIS.
5. SUPREME COURT BANNER PROJECT
Whether you can come to Ottawa or not, we wish to blanket the huge lawn of the Court with banners from across the country expressing regional rejection of secret trials. If you have a school/ church/ labour/ community group, we would love for you to grab an old bed sheet, paint out "Red Deer Against Secret Trials: Free the Detainees!" or "St. John's United Church, Moncton, NB, Says Stop Deportations to Torture," etc., and send us the banner for display (you can send completed and folded banners to Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada, PO Box 73620, 509 St Clair Ave. West, Toronto, ON M6C 1C0. If you have ideas you want to run by us, contact email@example.com or (416) 651-5800.
6. SECRET TRIALS STATEMENT
While in Ottawa, we wish to present to the federal government thousands of statements signed by people across the country expressing rejection of secret trials and calling for due process. Please download the statement at http://www.homesnotbombs.ca/STATEMENT.pdf, make copies, have folks sign it, and return completed copies to PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
7. LOCAL VIGILS IN SUPPORT
Tuesday, June 13 is the first day of the hearings. If you cannot come to Ottawa, why not organize a vigil of support in front of a local immigration office, CSIS/RCMP detachment, federal government building, or MP's office? Stuck for ideas or need help with a flyer, just let us know! If you DO plan such a vigil, also let us know, and we will inform the national media of what you are up to.
8. FINANCIAL HELP
Of course, any undertaking such as this requires a lot of expenses, especially for the thousands of educational flyers we will be producing, the costs of bringing witnesses to Montreal for the commission, the logistics of the week in Ottawa, etc. Please make cheques out to Homes not Bombs and mail them to PO Box 73620, 509 St Clair Ave. West, Toronto, ON M6C 1C0. Please earmark where you would like your donation to go towards (ie, People's Commission, Freedom Caravan, General Campaign expenses, etc.).
Get in touch: Campaign to Stop Secret
Trials in Canada
PO Box 73620, 509 St Clair Ave. West Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
(416) 651-5800, firstname.lastname@example.org www.homesnotbombs.ca
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