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NJW’s Advocacy Visit with Senator Leo Housakos: Discussing the Struggles of Turkish-Canadian Survivors

Northern Justice Watch, committed to spotlighting the human rights abuses by the Erdogan regime in Turkey, recently conducted a significant visit to the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. We were warmly received by Senator Leo Housakos, affiliated with the Conservative party, who engaged deeply with our cause.

During our visit, Senator Housakos primarily shared his perspective on US-China relations and the rising power of China. Among the delegation, Murat Acar expressed gratitude for the hospitality of Canada. The Senator, reciprocating with kindness, interrupted to say, “Thank YOU! We are the lucky ones to have you in our country.” Senator Housakos committed to making a statement and discussing the issue further in the Senate.

Our delegation, consisting of victims-turned-survivors Mesut Kacmaz, Meral Kacmaz, Murat Acar, and Candan Acar, shared their distressing experiences. The Kacmaz and Acar families, who were forcibly repatriated from Pakistan and Bahrain respectively to Turkey, had endured severe physical and psychological torment. These families found refuge in Canada after escaping persecution in Turkey and proudly call Canada home today.

The delegation discussed the targeted sanctions submission they filed with Global Affairs Canada, urging the Government of Canada to implement targeted sanctions on the twelve Turkish officials they identified as responsible for gross violations of human rights committed against them and their friend, Gökhan Açıkkollu, who was tortured to death in a Turkish prison.

The alarming human rights situation in Turkey, as exemplified by these families’ experiences, underscores the urgent need for international action. Since 2016, over 300,000 people have been detained by the Turkish government, which has also shut down over 2,000 institutions and 131 media outlets. The UN has repeatedly found Turkish officials responsible for serious human rights violations.

Northern Justice Watch is grateful for Senator Housakos’s dedication to holding those responsible for such gross human rights violations accountable, especially considering the Canadian victims of the Erdogan regime. We thank him for his commitment to helping our survivors seek justice, and we continue our mission to fight for human rights and justice.