In a press conference on Parliament Hill, Mohamed Fahmy joined Amnesty International’s Secretary-General Alex Neve and the family members of two Canadians currently imprisoned overseas to present the Protection Charter, containing twelve key recommendations to improve government advocacy and support.
“We all understand the boundaries of diplomacy,” Fahmy stated. “All we can hope for is to establish a groundwork that is very clear in terms of when to intervene."
Twelve specific reforms are included in the Charter, including recognition of human rights issues, the need for adequate consular support, and advocacy for permanent residents as well as Canadian citizens.
Speaking about his experience while jailed in Egypt for 438 days, Mohamed Fahmy stated that he felt “virtually abandoned” by the Canadian government. “This Protection Charter proposes reforms that will help ensure that other Canadians do not endure the injustice and double standards I went through.”
As well, adoption of the Protection Charter could help urge the government to intervene in current cases of concern. "The Protection Charter would help strengthen Canadian efforts on behalf of Raif Badawi, whose wife and three children were accepted to Canada as refugees,” stated Béatrice Vaugrante (Directrice Générale of Amnistie internationale Canada francophone) in a press release.
In addition to the Fahmy Foundation and Amnesty International (Canada), 15 organizations (including the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression), 16 former detainees and relatives of current detainees, and 16 lawyers and former diplomats have officially endorsed the Charter.
PROTECTION CHARTER: 12 RECOMMENDATIONS
- Enshrine the right to consular assistance and equal treatment in Canadian law
- Develop transparent criteria to guide consular assistance
- Protect Canadian journalists abroad
- Actively defend Canadian nationality
- Do not allow unjust foreign laws or practices to deter Canadian action
- Establish an independent office for review of consular assistance
- Ensure consistent support for death penalty clemency
- Institute review and oversight of Canadian national security agencies
- Ensure access to justice and freedom of movement after release
- Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture
- Develop an inter-governmental network
- Establish guidelines for permanent residents and others with Canadian connections
TO LEARN MORE:
READ the Protection Charter
WATCH the Press Conference