Thank you to the close to 1K individuals who signed this petition, and to MP Salma Zahid for sponsoring.
That said, the answer as excepted missed the key points raised.
The status quo appears to continue.
The response leaves more questions than answers
Just what areas specifically is meant by “all areas specifically impacted”?
We ask do these include Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, areas west of Idlib? We expect not.
Does all funds/supplies go through Idlib?
Were any supplies/funds able t:o go to Damascus?
What is the actual list of NGOs that have agreements with GAC (Global Affairs Canada) that can accept funds?
Do the UN, Red Cross , NGOs approved by GAC, operate in Aleppo, or other areas, or just in Idlib?
Were these groups able to bring supplies directly to the impacted areas or only through Idlib? and did they actually reach those areas at all?
Were families able to provide money directly to families?
We expect we know the answers,
Why does Canada sanction beyond the sanctions put in place by the UN? Are sanctions beyond those specified by the UN, not acts of war taken unilaterally by those countries imposing them? #SanctionsKill and the impact becomes even more deadly when faced by natural disasters, especially the magnitude of this February 2023 earthquake.
- The February 2023 earthquakes in Syria and Turkey have been devastating, with thousands of people dead, injured and without homes, and critical infrastructure destroyed;
- Aid must be provided urgently to all affected areas of Syria, as it has been to Turkey;
- Canada’s unilateral coercive economic sanctions are impeding aid reaching many areas in Syria;
- The UN Charter recognizes that economic sanctions are an act of war, and thus, reserves the right to solely establish these economic measures under the United Nations Security Council;
- Syria is not sanctioned by the United Nations;
- Unilateral economic sanctions are incompatible with the general principles of international law;
- Canada has placed unliteral coercive economic sanctions on Syria;
- The United States has suspended some sanctions on Syria, in response to the earthquake;
- There has been a call by international human rights and humanitarian organizations, and faith groups to remove sanctions so needed assistance can reach all areas of Syria; and
- Urgent humanitarian assistance is required immediately, and there will be a critical need for aid to rebuild and recover for many months and even years.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to immediately and permanently end its unilateral economic sanctions on Syria so all impacted Syrian civil society can receive urgently needed resources.
Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant
Canada remains deeply concerned by the devastating earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye, which have claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and injured many more. In response, Canada announced that it is providing $50 million in humanitarian assistance to support the international response to this emergency, $20 million of which is dedicated to Syria. This contribution is actively helping support emergency medical services and providing shelter, food and other essential items to populations most effected in Syria and Türkiye. This is in addition to the $50 million Canada allocated in humanitarian assistance for Syria in 2023.
Canada first imposed sanctions against Syria in May 2011, in response to the Syrian government’s violent crackdown on peaceful protestors. Canada’s sanctions are enacted under the Special Economic Measures Act, and target members of the Syrian regime responsible for human rights violations and resulting breach of international peace and security in the region. They are not targeting the Syrian population at large. As an added measure to ensure that Canadian sanctions do not inadvertently impact humanitarian activities, Canadian sanctions include legislated exceptions, including for humanitarian activities led by international organizations with diplomatic status; United Nations agencies; the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; and NGOs that have entered into a grant or contribution agreement with the Global Affairs Canada. As such, it is not prohibited under Canada’s Special Economic Measures Act for individuals or entities to make goods or services available to those entities, as long as those goods and services are for the purpose of safeguarding human life, or providing food, medicine or medical supplies or equipment. Canadian sanctions also include exemptions for disaster relief, democratisations or stabilisation under certain circumstances.
Humanitarian assistance from Canada and the international community has continued unabated in order to support the Syrian people. Canada has delivered over $685 million in humanitarian assistance funding in Syria since 2016, and has worked successfully with principled humanitarian partners on the ground in Syria. Canada is one of Syria’s largest humanitarian partners, and will continue to stand by the Syrian people when in need, and advocate strongly for accountability and justice in Syria.
Open for signature March 2, 2023, at 11:18 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature April 1, 2023, at 11:18 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons Salma Zahid (Scarborough Centre)
May 4, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01426)]
Government response tabled June 19, 2023