US war resisters Rodney Watson

Not sent after

Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Prime Minister Stephen Harper). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).

Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper,

I am very concerned about the situation of US war resister Rodney Watson, who did seek sanctuary in a church in Vancouver to avoid his deportation. Watson fled to Canada in 2006, after a tour of duty in Iraq. As a consequence of what he witnessed in Iraq, he is now opposed to the war in Iraq. However, being ordered to deploy, he would have had no chance to apply for conscientious objection.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee recognised in a decision from January 2007 the right to conscientious objection as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, as guaranteed by Article 18 ICCPR. In fact, in this decision on two cases of conscientious objectors from South Korea, the Human Rights Committee stated that not to provide for the right to conscientious objection is a violation of Article 18 ICCPR (see CCPR/C/88/D/1321-1322/2004 from 23 January 2007).

In addition, refusing to take part in a war in which he would likely to be forced to commit human rights violations should be accepted as a reason to grant him refugee status, according to the handbook of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Therefore, I urge you to grant all US war resisters refugee status in Canada and to halt the deportation of Rodney Watson and other US war resisters to the United States.