Rallies for four Canadian children being held in Iraq
Published Monday, March 21, 2016 3:41PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, March 21, 2016 6:37PM MDT
Alison Azer hasn’t seen her children in seven months since their father allegedly abducted them and took them to Iraq.
On Monday, Azer attended a rally on Parliament Hill to demand the government do more to bring the children home.
The children Meitan, 3, Dersim, 7, Rojevahn, 9, and Sharvahn, 11, are believed to be in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
“It’s a nightmare we can’t wake up from because every morning we wake up, the children are still missing,” said Tammy Jeffrey, Azer's sister in law..
Azer says the Canadian government gave her ex-husband, a Kurdish-Canadian doctor, permission to take the children out of the country.
Salahaddin Mahmudi-Azer, also known as Dr. Saren Azer, is a specialist from Vancouver Island. He was given permission to take the children to Germany, but instead of returning home, he took them to Iraq in an area that is an active war zone.
A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for the children’s father, and Interpol is also working on the case.
The rallies are to draw attention to the situation. Dozens of people rallied in Calgary on Monday, with rallies also taking place in B.C. and Ontario.
“We want people to contact their MPs, contact the government and say, hey, this isn’t great, we want these Canadian children back home where they belong,” said Tammy Jeffrey.
The Prime Minister addressed the issue during question period in Parliament.
“Canadian consular officials are working extremely closely with the appropriate government authorities in Canada and abroad, including law enforcement, to return the children safely to Canada,” he said. “Consular officials are in regular contact with Ms. Azer as we pursue the safe return of her children, rest assured that the safety of those children is a high priority for this government.”
Alison Azer currently lives in Courtenay, B.C., where one of the rallies took place today. She formerly lived in Alberta.