Kim and Joel Keys and their daughters Lily

Yellow ribbon campaign brings attention to abducted children

Family and friends of a woman who is fighting to get her four children back to Canada will begin a yellow ribbon campaign in Red Deer on Saturday.

Family and friends of a woman who is fighting to get her four children back to Canada will begin a yellow ribbon campaign in Red Deer on Saturday.

It will be one year on Aug. 15 that Alison Azer’s former husband, Saren Azer, a Kurdish-Canadian, allegedly broke a court order and took their children to northern Iraq. The children — Sharvahn, 12, Rojevahn, 10, Dersim, 7, and Meitan, 4 — were to have returned to Canada from a mandated vacation to France and Germany. An international Interpol notice was issued for Saren Azer’s arrest.

The Azers and their children lived in British Columbia. Alison has ties to Alberta and Red Deer and a few months ago former Somali hostage Amanda Lindhout, originally from Sylvan Lake, attended a fundraising event in Red Deer in support of her.

Alison Azer has worked tirelessly at raising awareness and pushing the Canadian government to help bring her children back to Canada.

A petition to that end has been started, and recently an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urges him to take action now.

Alison Azer did meet with Trudeau in May and Global Affairs Canada has said the well-being of the Azer children is a priority for the federal government.

Elaine Williams Allin, of Red Deer, a friend of Alison Azer, said she and other supporters will be at The Market at Red Deer on Saturday morning offering yellow ribbons for people to hang in their front yards in support of bringing the children home.

Williams Allin said that they will also be at the Blue Grass Sod Farms Central Spray and Play annual family picnic at the northwest corner of Rotary Recreation Park on Tuesday to hand out ribbons. They plan to run the ribbon campaign throughout August at various locations in Red Deer.

As well on Saturday, people can sign the petition that now has 12,000 signatures on it, and participate in a letter writing campaign to the prime minister, she said.

Alison Azer has not heard from her children since Aug. 13, 2015. She believes they were held first in a war zone in northern Iraq, and now in Iran.

The open letter to the prime minister says that the four children are in imminent and on-going danger, being held in an area of global conflict.

“We need you to make the call to your Iranian counterpart, President Rouhani, and tell him that Canada wants her children back. Four innocent Canadian children are waiting for you to keep your promise and bring them home.”

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