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e-3679 (Foreign affairs)

Initiated by Frances Combs from Toronto, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • On 22 October 2021, the Israeli Defense Minister designated six leading Palestinian civil society organizations (CSOs) as terrorist organizations under the Israel Anti-Terror Law of 2016, including Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq), Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC);
  • Designations may result in seizure of CSO assets, office closures, and the arrest and jailing of staff members by the Israeli authorities;
  • UN Special Rapporteurs condemned Israel’s designation of Palestinian human rights defenders as terrorist organizations stating, “the misuse of counter-terrorism measures in this way by the government of Israel undermines the security of all”;
  • The designations violate the freedoms of opinion, expression, and association, amounting to prohibited acts of apartheid under Article 7(2)(h) of the Rome Statute; and
  • Canada is obliged under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to ensure that violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention do not occur under any circumstance.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Call upon the Israeli authorities to immediately rescind the designations and end all efforts aimed at delegitimizing and criminalizing Palestinian human rights defenders;
2. Support Palestinians seeking the fundamental human rights, justice and accountability; and
3. Honour its obligation to ensure Israel’s compliance with international law.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant

Canada is a steadfast friend and ally of Israel and friend of the Palestinian people. Canada also believes that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority must fully respect international human rights and humanitarian law, which is key to ensuring the protection of civilians, and can contribute to the creation of a climate conducive to achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement. The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canada’s foreign policy and remains a priority for the Government of Canada. Canada also believes that civil society is a critical element of inclusive and democratic societies.

Canada rejects terrorism in all forms. The Government of Canada does not tolerate any misuse or diversion of assistance to support terrorism or terrorist entities listed in accordance with Canadian legislation, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Canada is committed to providing international assistance to help meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people, including Palestinians. Accountability and safeguards are central to the management of this assistance. The Government of Canada provides assistance for Palestinians through organizations with proven track records of delivering assistance effectively and in accordance with Canadian requirements. These organizations have an on-the-ground presence, as well as strong anti-fraud, anti-corruption, monitoring, and audit and evaluation practices. Canada exercises enhanced due diligence for all international assistance funding for Palestinians—this includes strong anti-terrorism provisions in funding agreements, ongoing oversight, regular site visits, and systematic screening of organizations and their key decision makers against Government of Canada terrorist lists.

Open for signature
November 24, 2021, at 8:45 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
January 23, 2022, at 8:45 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches—East York)
February 8, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00153)
Government response tabled
March 24, 2022
Photo - Nathaniel Erskine-Smith
Beaches—East York
Liberal Caucus