Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)

Press Release

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Press Release
January 15, 2003
For the second time in less than a week, we the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation, find ourselves responding to the hostile and ignorant remarks of the Lebanese Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Raymond Baaklini. 

His Excellency has once again resorted to hiding behind Arab media in an effort to appease and cajole his superiors in Lebanon and Syria and hide his offensive remarks from the Canadian public and government.  On this past Monday, January the 13th, Baaklini gave a divisive interview to the Al-Sharq Awsat, a Saudi newspaper published out of London. 

In this interview, the Lebanese ambassador to Canada defended his recent racist statements in Canada and went further to assault a major sector of the Lebanese Canadian community with veiled threats and verbal intimidation. 

In the interview, Baaklini refers to “a certain segment of Lebanese-Canadians” as Zionists, whose aims are to alienate groups such as Hizbollah and further their own personal agenda’s. To these accusations we say resoundingly that yes indeed, we support the Canadian government in eliminating ties with all terrorist groups including Hizbollah.  We also support revealing the undemocratic and oppressive regime in Lebanon and ending the Syrian occupation of Lebanon.  Only then can basic human rights once again prevail in our ancestral Land, Lebanon.  

As for the accusation of us being Zionists, this is an embarrassing lie.  We support a just and fair peace in the Middle East between Israel and all neighbors, beginning with Lebanon. In Lebanon, and in the rest of the so called "Arabic World", those labeled  “Zionists”, are subject to persecution, along with alienation and threats towards the accused family.  By labeling Lebanese Canadians as Zionists, the Ambassador has threatened persecution towards a large number of Lebanese-Canadians who hold dual citizenship if they were to return to Lebanon.   Further more, his remarks were intended to cause anxiety amongst Canadians who have family back in Lebanon, whom may potentially be targeted with harassment and persecution for their relatives in Canada who proclaim Human Rights and support the Canadian Government’s decision to ban Hizbollah.

Our code of ethics, prevents us from uttering the ambassador's derogatory and offensive remarks that reveal deep grudges and a base language that the Lebanese have rarely seen and never expected from a Lebanese diplomat, who in effect is supposed to be a representative.  These statements support a Lebanese proverb, “The pot always reveal s its contents”.  

We the CLHRF, condemn these blasphemous statements, accusations and reject the veiled threats that target hundreds of thousands of Lebanese-Canadians.  We also intend that our refusal to personally respond to these remarks be a sign that we will not begin debate with a puppet official, who does not, nor cannot form his own opinions and must resort to cheap, opportunistic tactics.

As a result of the Ambassador’s recent inflammatory remarks published in Al-Sharq Awsat, that opposes the Canadian Charter of Rights and core values of the Canadian Government; we the CLHRF have raised this matter again to the appropriate authorities and channels of the Canadian government.  We have requested again that Ambassador, Raymond Baaklini, be considered a person ‘non in gratta’ and be expelled from Canada.

Toronto 15/1/2003
Elias Bejjani


Spokesman for the CLHRF

N.B: Attached:  English translation of Mr. Baaklini's interview and the original Arabic version