Conscientious objection to war – a fundamental right for all?

Oct 20th 2013

Alyssa Manning, left, represents U.S. War resisters who have sought asylum in Canada.

Is conscientious objection to military service a fundamental right for all, or a select few?

Come find out with Rachel Brett, human rights representative at the Quaker UN Office in Geneva and Alyssa Manning, lawyer for many of the U.S. war resisters.

Sunday October 27th, 2013
1 pm – 2:30 pm

Friends House, Toronto,
60 Lowther Avenue

(2 blocks north of the Bedford Rd. exit of St. George Subway)
Free, wheelchair accessible, all welcome!

Many people believe that to be a Conscientious Objector (C.O.) you have to be against all war and violence – and, if so, why would you have ever joined the military? Many types of people seek C.O. status all over the world – the issue is as relevant today as during World War II. Some are people of faith, some of no faith, some object to serving in the military and need protection from conscription, and some (like the U.S. War Resisters who are in Canada) develop an objection to war (or a particular war) through the experience of serving in the military. Are all of these cases “legitimate”?

Rachel has worked on C.O. issues for decades within the United Nations system and internationally as the human rights representative at the Quaker UN Office Geneva. Alyssa has represented US War Resisters in a number of precedent-setting legal cases in Canada.

This is a rare opportunity to dialogue with two of the most talented and interesting advocates for conscientious objectors.

Presented by: Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)
Toronto Monthly Meeting’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee

War Resisters Support Campaign 

War resisters join peace plaque unveiling in Whitchurch-Stouffville

Sep 25th 2013

On Sunday September 22, U.S. war resisters attended a ceremony unveiling a plaque which commemorates conscientious object to war in the Whitchurch-Stouffville area.

The plaque unveiling coincided with the United Nations’ International Day of Peace held annually on September 21st. Dozens of attendees signed a petition in support of U.S. Iraq war resisters, calling on the government to repeal Operational Bulletin 202.

Urgent appeal for assistance: Emergency Moving Fund for Key family

Sep 19th 2013

U.S. War resister Joshua Key, his wife Alexina and their three children have been evicted from their home in Saskatchewan. They have been ordered to leave by October 4th. They have lived there for the past 4 years.

While the family looks into their legal options regarding this unjust eviction, they also urgently need to raise funds to cover the costs of moving to a new home.

Please click the following link to see the APPEAL from the Key family:

Any financial assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.


Jul 31st 2013

Wednesday August 7th, 2013
Steelworkers Hall
25 Cecil Street, Toronto

6:00 pm Dinner
7:00 pm Update and MUSIC!!!

Join us for an update on the campaign to win asylum for U.S. War Resisters in Canada.

Followed by musical guests :
Thomas Radcliffe
The Manning Sisters

Thomas Radcliffe is a Vietnam War Resister, a singer-songwriter, and an advocate for peace and social justice.
And by popular demand, the Manning sisters, Alyssa and Kim, return to the Steel Hall with their great harmonies.

And featuring :
“I am Bradley Manning” photo booth
Show your support for military whistle-blower and democracy advocate Bradley Manning

$20 suggested donation


Write to Kim Rivera

May 15th 2013

Kim is now at Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego where she is serving her 10 month sentence.

Please write to Kim, to let her know she has strong support. Her  mailing address at Miramar is:

Kimberly Rivera
P.O. Box 452136
San Diego, CA 92145-2136

There are strict rules on what can be included in letters. Please do not include anything but the paper you yourself have used to write. Do not send stamps, envelopes, writing paper, stickers or anything other than a simple letter. Anything more will very likely not make its way to Kim.

As soon as we obtain information regarding sending books to Kim, we will post it here.

Iraq War Resister Kim Rivera sentenced to 14 months in military prison after deportation by Harper government

Apr 29th 2013

TORONTO — On Monday afternoon, during a court-martial hearing at Fort Carson, Colorado, Kimberly Rivera was sentenced to 14 months in military prison and a dishonourable discharge after publicly expressing her conscientious objection to the Iraq War while in Canada. A pre-trial agreement capped the sentence at 10 months of confinement and a bad conduct discharge.

Rivera family

Private First Class Kimberly Rivera deployed to Iraq in 2006 and sought asylum in Canada in 2007 because she decided she could no longer be complicit in the war. A mother of four young children—including two who were born in Canada—she was forced back to the United States of America by the Conservative government after receiving a negative decision on her pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA). A Federal Court judge denied her request for a stay of removal, finding the possibility of her arrest and detention in the U.S. to be “speculative.” Rivera was arrested three days later, on September 20, 2012, as she presented herself at the U.S. border.

“Kim is being punished for her beliefs and for her comments to the press while she was in Canada,” said James M. Branum, the defense attorney who represented Rivera during the court-martial proceedings. “Because she spoke out against the Iraq War, Kim’s sentence is harsher than the punishment given to 94 percent of deserters who are not punished but administratively discharged. In the closing arguments, the prosecutor argued that the judge needed to give PFC Rivera a harsh sentence to send a message to the other war resisters in Canada and their supporters.”

The tremendous public outcry related to Rivera’s case shows the deep and broad support that Canadians continue to express for Iraq War resisters. In a period of 10 days leading up to the Rivera family deportation, 20,000 people signed a petition supporting the family. Faith, labour and human rights organizations spoke out, Amnesty International adopted Kim as a prisoner of conscience, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu published an opinion piece in The Globe and Mail newspaper calling the deportation order “unjust.”

In stark contrast to this outpouring of support, Conservative MPs cheered when the Rivera family’s removal was announced in the House of Commons.

“The Conservative government knew that Kim would be jailed and separated from her children when they forced her back to the U.S., yet they cheered her deportation,” said Michelle Robidoux, a spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign. “They are out of step with the great majority of Canadians who opposed the Iraq War and who support allowing U.S. war resisters to stay in Canada.”

On February 1, 2013, the Federal Court of Canada issued a decision in the case of another U.S. war resister, Jules Tindungan, finding that the U.S. court-martial system “fails to comply with basic fairness requirements found in Canadian and International Law.” The Court also found that the Refugee Board failed to deal properly with evidence that soldiers who have spoken out publicly about their objections to U.S. military actions are subjected to particularly harsh punishments because of having voiced their political opinions.

“The sentence Kim received today underlines the concerns we have been raising all along, and what the Federal Court now acknowledges, that soldiers who speak out against unjust wars face harsher punishment and have no recourse within the U.S. military justice system,” said Robidoux. “Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney were ardent supporters of the Iraq War, and they want U.S. Iraq War resisters punished. But Parliament has voted twice to stop these deportations, and the majority of Canadians believe Kim and the other resisters did the right thing. We will continue to fight to make sure this injustice does not happen to any other U.S. war resister who is seeking asylum in Canada.”


For further information, please contact: Michelle Robidoux, Spokesperson, War Resisters Support Campaign, 416-856-5008; or Ken Marciniec, Communications Volunteer, War Resister Support Campaign, 416-803-6066, communications[at]resisters[dot]ca

Federal Court rules in favour of U.S. war resister Jules Tindungan

Feb 4th 2013

On Friday February 1st, the Federal Court of Canada released a decision granting U.S. war resister Jules Tindungan a new hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). The Court found errors in the original IRB decision pertaining to issues which are at the heart of asylum claims by U.S. soldiers in Canada.

Mr. Tindungan is one of dozens of former U.S. soldiers who have sought asylum in Canada because of their objection to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tindungan refused to return to combat for the United States military in 2008 after serving a 15 month combat tour and seeing first-hand the breaches of the Geneva Conventions committed by U.S. forces.

Mr. Tindungan argued before the Refugee Board that he faces differential punishment in the U.S. because he has spoken out publicly against U.S. military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also argued that he would not get a fair trial if returned because the U.S. court-martial system is not an independent and impartial tribunal as required under Canadian and International law.

After reviewing Tindungan’s case, the Federal Court found that Tindungan “submitted voluminous documentary evidence from credible, third-party sources … that suggest that the U.S. has not complied with its international obligations”. However, the Refugee Board improperly ignored this evidence.

The Court further found that the U.S. court-martial system “fails to comply with basic fairness requirements found in Canadian and International Law”, therefore impacting whether Tindungan would receive a fair hearing if returned to the U.S.

For more information, see the full press release and the Court decision.

It’s time to allow U.S. War resisters to stay

Jan 23rd 2013

Isn’t it time we begin to redress the atrocity of this war by honouring those such as Ms. Rivera who had the courage to stand against it at such cost to themselves?

Archbishop Desmond Tutu asked this question in a powerful op-ed in the Globe & Mail in September 2012 when the Canadian government forced U.S. Iraq War resister Kimberly Rivera and her family, including two Canadian children, to return to the U.S.. Kimberly is now separated from her husband and children, and awaiting court martial at Fort Carson, Colorado.

The tremendous public outcry related to Kimberly’s case shows the deep and broad support that Canadians continue to express for Iraq War resisters. In a period of 10 days leading up to the Rivera family deportation, 20,000 people signed a petition supporting the family. Faith, labour and human rights organizations spoke out strongly in support of Kimberly. Amnesty International has adopted Kimberly as a prisoner of conscience.

And on January 26, a group of prominent Canadians including Noah Richler, Andy Barrie, Ursula Franklin, Alexandre Trudeau and Dr. John Polanyi signed an open letter, published in the Globe and Mail, that called on the government of Canada to cease all deportation orders against U.S. Iraq War Resisters.

In stark contrast to this outpouring of support from Canadians, Conservative MPs cheered when the Rivera family’s removal was announced in the House of Commons.

There are many Iraq War resisters still in Canada, facing the threat of deportation. That’s why we need you to take action. The Conservative government continues to pursue the removal of these resisters to the U.S. where they will face punishment for their conscientious decision not to take part in the illegal and immoral war.

How you can help:

1. Contact Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration & Multiculturalism asking him to make a provision to allow Iraq War resisters to stay in Canada.

Address: 325 East Block, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Phone: 613-954-1064 Fax: 613-957.2688

2. Send a letter of support to Kimberly Rivera. The support she is receiving from Canada, the U.S., and internationally is helping her during this difficult period while she is separated from her family and awaiting court martial. Letters can be sent to:

Kimberly Rivera
c/o All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
730 N. Tejon Street
Colorado Springs, CO

3. Make a donation to help support the campaign to allow U.S. war resisters to stay in Canada.

Fundraising evening in support of war resisters

Nov 21st 2012


A Fundraiser for U.S. War Resisters and their Ongoing Struggle

type-writer image

Friday, December 7th, 7 pm SHARP

Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto
2 Sussex Ave @ St. George Street

With a special reading by author Noah Richler; Common Thread Community Choir; a sneak preview of the new film Peace Has No Borders by filmmakers Denis Mueller and Deb Ellis; and a panel of U.S. Iraq War Resisters

$10-20 sliding scale

War Resisters Support Campaign – 416.598.1222 –

Send messages of support to Kimberly Rivera

Oct 3rd 2012

While Kim is at Fort Carson, separated from her husband and children and waiting to find out what her fate will be, it is critical that she know that she is not alone and that she has support for the courageous stance she took in coming to Canada. Letters and notes of support can be sent to Kim Rivera at:

Kim Rivera
c/o All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
730 N. Tejon Street
Colorado Springs, CO

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