On the day President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban was to come into place members of the Ottawa community gathered to send a message of peace.
Not only in Ottawa, but around the world they gathered at U.S. consulates and embassies to demand not just a hold, but a repeal of the executive order which bans travellers from six countries.
“It’s a U.S. order with global implications and ramifications,” Jacob Kuehn, media officer at Amnesty International Canada said.
In Ottawa, about 30 people gathered on a day marked by Amnesty International as a day of action.
Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada addressed the crowd holding a ‘#NoBanNoWall’ sign and called the new order the same as the old one, bigotry.
“This is at its core a ban that is about bigotry and discrimination and hatred,” Neve said.
According to Neve, the hardships faced by refugees are what keep the world so divided and unsafe. He said if Trump truly valued the safety and security of his country, he would be ensuring refugees are safe.
“This is not about safety and security,” Neve said. “This is about religious bigotry and hatred and that has no place…under international human rights law,” Neve said.
Although the United States has never been a country to always uphold human rights, Neve said the message the law sends matters to the world.
Neve called the judges who have already placed the ban on hold from Hawaii and Maryland courageous individuals who were able to see the law for what it is. He said these holds are only temporary and they do not solve the actual problem.
He said repeal of the legislation is the only way to solve the problem.
“What we need is for the ban to be put to bed once and for all,” Neve said.
To terminate the law, the public must demand it be. On this day the crowd chanted ‘no ban, no wall’ and ‘no hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here’ to express their disproval.
Anne Mader was one of those people chanting. For the first time in her life she was at a protest. She had mailed letters before as a way of having her voice heard, but this day was necessary because of the recent events in the United States.
Mader’s parents are immigrants from Holland and she is a first generation Canadian. Being a pluralist, welcoming society just makes sense for Mader.
“The message (no hate, no fear) resonated because my parents were welcomed here,” Mader said.
The warm welcome they received, Mader said all immigrants deserve.
“An inclusive society is a safer society,” Mader said. “Where everyone is respected as a member and a participant.”