LONDON— According to a report by CTV news, Ed Broadbent, the former leader of the New Democratic Party from 1975 to 1989 and an elder statesman of human rights, spoke at an event celebrating the historic redress by Canada of wrongs committed against Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War. Broadbent addressed the wrongs committed by the Canadian government including internment of Japanese Canadians, seizure of property and exile, and turned to the plight of Canadians detained in the al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria, a home to some 71,400 people, mostly wives, widows and children of IS fighters.
“My point is simple,” he said. “Human rights were cruelly denied to Japanese-Canadians when it was politically opportune to do so. Today, on a smaller scale, this abuse is being repeated.”
“What is it about the children that has caused our government to be cruelly indifferent to their fate? The real test of political character is to defend rights when they are under threat by public opinion here at home,” Broadbent said.
He urged the Canadian government to take action and help the Canadian children stuck in the al-Hol refugee camp. He said about 40 Canadian citizens have been held in prisons and camps in Syria with little hope of coming to Canada, and the vast majority of them are children under the age of five who are sick and malnourished.
“I believe their human rights claims have been ignored simply because the adults among them might have been involved with ISIS,” he said. “What is it about 35 women and children. What about their rights as Canadians?”
The camp is run by the Kurdish militia who are supported by the American government. In recent weeks, there has been a dangerous outbreak ofviolence as some of the more radical ISIS wives have tried to seize control of the camp. The Canadian government has maintained it is too difficult and dangerous to enter the camps to provide consular services, even in the case of the four-year-old orphan, Amira.