Canadian Lebanese non profit groups and organization condemn the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Bruce Balfour by the Lebanese authorities

Press Release
Jailing foreigner volunteers who help Lebanon!!!!

We, the undersigned Canadian-Lebanese groups and organizations, on behalf of members of the Canadian-Lebanese community who share our values and objectives, strongly condemn the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Bruce Balfour, a Canadian citizen, by the Lebanese authorities on 11/7/03.

The Canadian-Lebanese community holds deep convictions in regards to the respect of human rights and the championing of basic civil freedoms. It is outraged by this shameful conduct of the Lebanese authorities who do not represent the Lebanese people's hospitality, friendly traditions, love for peace, and respect for others. We find the mistreatment of a citizen of a friendly nation who came to Lebanon to help this country restore its own national symbol, the famed Cedars of Lebanon, particularly horrifying.

Instead of showing gratitude for the great volunteer work that Mr. Balfour has offered Lebanon, its people, and its reforestation efforts, the Syrian-appointed Lebanese regime arrested him for no just reason and infringed upon his basic human rights. What is more disturbing is that Mr. Balfour's detention was not communicated by the Lebanese judicial authorities to his family or to the Canadian Embassy in Beirut for the first ten days of his detention, while charges have yet to be pressed against him.

We, Canadian groups and organizations denounce the Lebanese regime's infringement on Mr. Balfour rights and call for his immediate and unconditional release. We urge the Canadian authorities, especially the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs  Mr. Bill Graham , to give this matter their utmost attention and to utilize all available means and resources to secure the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Bruce Balfour.

The kind of misconduct practiced by the Lebanese authorities should not be tolerated by the Canadian government. It must not be allowed to pass quietly without  appropriately tough political measures taken in a bid to prevent its future reoccurrence.

Long Live Peace & Democracy

Council Of The Lebanese Canadian Organizations (COLCO)/ Robet Hanna
Ottawa Ahrar Organization (OAO)/ George Chammoun
Lebanese Information Centre (LIC)/ William Azzi
World Lebanese Organization (WLO)/ Charbel Barakat
Canadian Lebanese Cultural Club (CLCC)/ Maroun Aoun
LebaneseCanadian Coordinating Councel (LCCC)/  Elias Bejjani
Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)/ Edmond El Chidiac

N.B: For any further information please call Mr. Elias Bejjani
Phone (905) 276 7535 Fax (905) 272 9389 E.Mail
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