Canada Opposes 15 Palestinian Attempts to Join United Nations Treaties

By Blanchfield, Mike | The Canadian Press, February 16, 2015 | Go to article overview

Canada Opposes 15 Palestinian Attempts to Join United Nations Treaties


Blanchfield, Mike, The Canadian Press


Canada against 15 Palestinian treaty attempts

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OTTAWA - Canada has formally opposed Palestinian attempts to join 15 different United Nations treaties and conventions -- a position that puts the federal government on the wrong side of history and at odds with its citizenry, the Palestinian envoy in Ottawa says.

Canada is objecting in writing to the UN because it maintains Palestine is not a legal state. The Palestinians have formally replied to Canada's objections in writing, issuing a pointed reminder that they won non-member observer status in November 2012 at the UN General Assembly.

The dispute has sparked the most scathing Palestinian criticism to date of the Harper government's unwavering support of Israel.

"It pains the Palestinians to know that Canada is trying to exclude us from our rightful place in the family of nations. It is awkward to see a great country like Canada relegated to the role of cheerleader for Israeli extremists at the UN," Said Hamad, the chief representative of the Palestinian delegation to Canada, said in an emailed response to questions.

"When future Canadians look back at Canada's positions during this time they will be appalled that their country was so boldly opposed to justice and so far on the wrong side of history," he added.

"We invite Canada to pursue a position of its own -- rather than parrot policies developed by the Likud Party and its ultranationalist allies -- on the matter of Palestinian freedom."

Canada voted against the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition along with Israel, the United States and six smaller countries, but it still won the approval of the 193-member UN General Assembly.

On Nov. 29, 2012, John Baird -- who was foreign affairs minister at the time -- flew to New York to deliver a speech to the General Assembly to express Canada's opposition to the bid.

Now, Canada is making it clear to the UN that because it does not recognize "Palestine" as a state, it does not recognize any treaty relations with it, either.

In documents filed by the UN, Canada has objected to the Palestinians acceding to the Rome Statute that creates the International Criminal Court and 14 other conventions and protocols.

Among them are the Convention on Biodiversity, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the UN Law of the Sea, a convention against transnational organized crime, a protocol on biosafety and biological diversity and the convention on womens' rights.

In repetitive legalese, one of the documents citing Canada's position says, "'Palestine' does not meet the criteria of a state under international law and is not recognized by Canada as a state. …

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