Moderator Calls on Prime Minister to Help End Gaza Siege

    TORONTO, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - In a letter sent yesterday to Stephen Harper,
the Moderator of The United Church of Canada has called on the Prime Minister
to use the weight of his office, and the influence of Canada's strong
relationship with Israel, to call on the Israeli government to end the siege
of Gaza.
    In the letter, the Right Rev. David Giuliano urges the Government of
Canada to

    -   request that the Israeli government end the siege of Gaza
    -   work with all parties concerned to negotiate a just resolution of the
        conflict that has caused so much suffering to people on both sides
    -   uphold respect for international human rights and humanitarian law in
        its votes on United Nations resolutions

    "It is particularly the innocent who are suffering now. The siege has
increased violent attacks against civilians on both sides. It has cut the
people of Gaza off from adequate supplies of food, medicine, electricity, and
fuel, and crippled essential health and sanitation services in one of the most
densely populated places on earth," comments Giuliano.
    The Moderator's letter also expresses shock that on January 24, 2008,
Canada was the only country that voted against a resolution passed at a
special session of the United Nations' Human Rights Council. That resolution

    -   called for an end to the siege in Gaza
    -   expressed grave concern for the loss of lives and injuries
    -   urged "all concerned parties to respect the rules of human rights law
        and international humanitarian law and to refrain from violence
        against the civilian population"

    "These are Canadian values which we have stood in defence of in other
places in the world," says Giuliano. "They are values which I expect the
government of Canada to uphold in all situations, wherever violations of
international human rights law occur."

For further information:

For further information: Mary-Frances Denis, Communications Officer, The
United Church of Canada, (416) 231-7680 ext. 2016 (office), (416) 885-7478
(cell), (416) 766-0057 (home)

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