by ICLMG and 10 civil society organizations
Source: International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
Date: September 6, 2012
The Honourable Vic Toews, PC QC MP
Minister of Public Safety
House of Commons
Re: Use of Torture-tainted information
6 September 2012
Dear Minister Toews:
We are writing to you today to express our opposition to the government's directives
that would allow for the use of information that was likely extracted through torture. These directives are currently in the public spotlight following disclosure through an Access to Information request.
It is important to note that Canada is a signatory to numerous international agreements including the Convention Against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
All of these conventions emphasize the illegality of the use of torture and, as such, it is imperative that the Canadian government upholds its international obligations by unequivocally denying the right of any state to torture citizens or non-citizens.
To accept/ share information from states where torture is known to occur would be to renege on these international commitments. Furthermore, it would send the wrong signal, implying that there is a "market" for such information.
As such we urge the Canadian government to direct its various national security agencies including the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, and CSIS to discard information likely obtained through the violation of human rights and to refrain from sharing such information.
In 2006, Justice Dennis O'Connor, in his Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar, recommended policies that now appear to have been ignored. Specifically, recommendation 14 which stated, "Policies should include specific directions aimed at eliminating any possible Canadian complicity in torture, avoiding the risk of other human rights abuses and ensuring accountability."
We, the undersigned, strongly believe that the Canadian government and its institutions are responsible for the safety and well-being of Canadians. However this duty must align itself with international agreements, and with Canada's own Charter obligations.
The Government of Canada must condemn the use of torture, without caveats.
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
Lawyer's Rights Watch Canada
The Council of Canadians
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
James L. Turk
Canadian Association of University Teachers
BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
BC Civil Liberties Association
Ligue des droits et libertés
Warren Allmand, P.C., O.C.,Q.C.
Canadian Yearly Meeting-Religious Society of Friends(Quakers)