Monday, February 18, 2008

Supreme Court of Canada: "Jerusalem, Israel" Not to Appear as Birthplace on Canadian Passport

When Mr. Eliyahu Veffer was advised that the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs refused to reflect the birthplace on his Canadian passport as “Jerusalem, Israel”, he commenced an Application for Judicial Review, claiming the refusal violated his rights as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed Veffer’s application for judicial review citing both Canadian and United Nations policy on the matter.

The Supreme Court of Canada’s Bulletin of Proceedings reports:

Mr. Veffer is a Jewish Canadian citizen born in Jerusalem. He requested that the Minister of Foreign Affairs inscribe “Jerusalem, Israel” on his passport as his place of birth. Passport Canada, pursuant to policy, issued a Canadian passport indicating “Jerusalem” as his place of birth. Mr. Veffer’s former counsel wrote to the Minister and requested that the passport be amended to include Israel as Mr. Veffer’s country of birth. The Minister refused. Mr. Veffer sought judicial review on the basis that Passport Canada violated his Charter rights to (freedom of conscience or religion, identity and equality).

The application for judicial review was dismissed, as was an appeal, both on the grounds that Jerusalem is recognized by the United Nations as not being lawfully within the territory of any state. As a result, even though Israel had controlled the western portion of Jerusalem since the early 1950s and the eastern portion since 1967, and even though Canada maintains a diplomatic practice of acknowledging Israel’s de facto control of the western portion of Jerusalem (but not the eastern part), Canada does not recognize de jure that any part of Jerusalem is part of the territory of the state of Israel.

- Annie Noa Kenet, Toronto

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