|Foreign Affairs Building of Canada.|
So I wrote the Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird a letter stressing my concerns. You can find a PDF copy of the letter here.
One part of the letter was boldfaced:
I believe it is your duty as the Minister of Foreign Affairs to show the world that Canada does not condone the persecution of anyone based on religious views. I urge you to make a statement condemning this and to express support for Mr. Aan’s right to disbelieve in a God.Unless I missed a memo I haven't found such a statement by Canada - at least publicly. Not a peep about Mr. Aan's situation pro or con. If anyone has any information otherwise, I would be thrilled to hear.
So I had pretty much given up on the whole thing ages ago. So imagine my surprise when I find a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in my mailbox Monday morning!
Thank you for your letter of June 14, 2012, concerning the situation of Mr. Alexander Aan in Indonesia.
The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canada's foreign policy. Canada has been a strong and committed supporter of the individual's right to freedom of religion and conscience and to that end, the Government of Canada has committed to creating a new Office of Religious Freedom within Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. We envision this office as a vital part of our efforts to promote human rights, encourage the protection of religious minorities around the world, and promote Canadian values of pluralism and tolerance.
Canada and Indonesia have held a human rights dialogue (a formal meeting of senior-level officials from both countries) on seven occasions since 1997 to engage on human rights issues. At our most recent human rights dialogue with Indonesia, which was held on June 11, 2012, Canada expressed its concerns regarding violations of freedom of expression and opinion in Indonesia. In addition, the Embassy of Canada to Indonesia regularly advocates for the protection and promotion of human rights and continues to raise freedom of opinion and expression with Indonesian government officials.
Please be assured that the Government of Canada is monitoring Mr. Aan's situation in Indonesia and will take every appropriate opportunity to continue to raise concerns on human rights issues.
Thank you again for taking the time to express your concerns.
John Baird, P.C.,M.P.Well, I'm still rather impressed I got any response at all, but I can't say I'm really impressed by the response itself. I suppose it's about all I could have ever expected. Thanks for writing me back!
I do plan on writing back to remind him about Alber Saber.
|Scene from Miracle on 34th Street.|
The first substantial paragraph about the new Office of Religious Freedom is a bit of propaganda that doesn't surprise me.
It's the next paragraph that strikes me as nothing more than fluff fluffed up more fluffily with a bunch of dates and qualifiers so as to appear to actually say much more than it really does.
Finally it's the third paragraph that pretty much sums up the government's position concerning Aan. I'll paraphrase - the good Minister can write me back if I get this wrong:
We believe in protecting religious minorities and the freedom of expression. We know what happened to Mr. Aan and, don't worry, we're monitoring it closely. But we're not going to say anything publicly about this or do anything substantial at all.Sounds like something the Christian God would do when it comes to suffering. Maybe I would have been just as well off getting on my knees and praying.