Montreal, Canada - August 6, 2006

RCPL calls upon Canadian opposition parties to respect freedom of expression.

On August 1st 2006 nine witnesses including RCPL, Red Cross and CIDA have been denied their right to express their opinion about the evacuation of Canadians from Lebanon, before the Standing committee on Foreign Affairs in Ottawa.

This occurred after three Opposition parties (Bloc Quebecois, Liberal Party, NDP), made an unjustified and unfair pre-judgment on all witnesses, even before giving them any chance to express their views.

RCPL considers this incident a serious violation of the freedom of expression, as it aimed at intimidating the witnesses, and at suppressing legitimate voices of the Lebanese community in Canada. This constitutes a serious breach in the democratic principle, and a clear contravention to the spirit of the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms.

This is particularly worrisome since many of the witnesses were acting on the field to help evacuees, and could have added much value to the work and report of the Standing Committee.

As a non profit organization dedicated to promote human rights and democracy, RCPL declares that it remains out of any Canadian or Lebanese political game that could be possibly taking place. We also reiterate our commitment to defend the rights of Lebanese and Canadians in Lebanon and in Canada.

For more information about our mission, activities and meetings, please visit our web site at http://www.rcplonline.org

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