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The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of the 535,000 members of Canadian Union of Public Employees, I am writing to express our deep distress over the treatment of a Syrian-born Canadian citizen, Maher Arar.

I am deeply disturbed by the news of Mr. Arars treatment in a Syrian jail where he was held without charge after being deported to Syria by the U.S. government. Although Mr. Arar has now returned home to Canada, many questions remain about why he was deported to Syria in the first place and what the Canadian governments involvement has been in this case.

We are increasingly concerned that Canadians of Arab origin, or Canadians holding dual citizenship, are being subjected to unfair and discriminatory treatment because of the U.S.-led war against terrorism. Security concerns should not be an excuse for undermining or ignoring basic safeguards against torture and false imprisonment or detention without charge.

We add our voices to the many Canadians who are calling for a public inquiry into Mr. Arars deportation and subsequent treatment in Syria. We have a right to know what role, if any, was played by Canadian law enforcement and security agencies in his deportation to Syria. We need answers and assurances that this will not happen again. We also need immediate action by the federal government to ensure that the human rights of Arab-Canadians are upheld.


National President