Canada Leads the Way Calling for Immediate Release of Gilad Shalit, Rights Groups Fall Behind With Weak Statement

June 27, 2011

Marking the fifth anniversary of the June 25, 2006, kidnapping of Israeli staff sergeant Gilad Shalit by Hamas John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister on Friday issued a strong statement demanding his release by Hamas, a banned terrorist organization in Canada:

“Tomorrow marks the fifth anniversary of the captivity of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Staff Sergeant Shalit has been held in Gaza, and prevented from communicating with his family, in violation of international humanitarian law. These five years have been excruciating for his loved ones, who have gone almost two years without any sign he is still alive.

“Canada has repeatedly called for the release of Gilad Shalit, and we repeat that call today. We support efforts by the International Committee of the Red Cross to gain access to Staff Sergeant Shalit, and we call upon his Hamas captors to permit that access immediately.

“On behalf of the government and the people of Canada, I call for the immediate and unconditional release of Gilad Shalit.”

Twelve “human rights” organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and B’Tselem, also issued a joint statement. In a weak statement, however, they did not call for his immediate release, only for the improvement of the conditions of his imprisonment. Nor did the statement express an opinion on the standing of Hamas as a banned terrorist regime. 


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