NUPGE joins campaign to abolish security certificates

posted on December 11, 2004 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Original author: NUPGE staff Source: NUPGE Website (National Union of Public and General Employees) URL: [link] Date: December 9, 2004 "Security certificates and secret trials deny citizens one of the most basic and universal of all human rights." - James Clancy

Ottawa - The 337,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is observing Dec. 10, the 56th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by joining a long list of organizations demanding an end to Canada's use of Security Certificates and secret trials. Dec. 10 also marks the second anniversary of Mohamed Harkat being held under a Security Certificate, as well as the last day of his hearing in a Canadian court to determine his fate. Harkat is alleged to be a member of al Qaeda, but evidence against him has never been made public. "Security certificates and secret trials deny citizens one of the most basic and universal of all human rights, the right to fundamental justice," says NUPGE president James Clancy.At the request of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the federal government can use Security Certificates to declare Canadian residents a threat and can then have them arrested and held indefinitely, without charge. "To make matters worse, CSIS can withhold from the detained person's lawyer any evidence it wants to keep secret," Clancy says. "This severely hampers the ability of the lawyer to defend their client." Endangering life

The process can also seriously endanger the life of a detained individual. "If the judge upholds the certificate, the detainee faces immediate deportation," Clancy notes. "Once deported to their country of origin, because they are considered a potential threat, they become vulnerable to re-arrest, torture and even execution." Clancy has joined a growing list of Canadians in signing a Statement Against Security Certificates that is being circulated across the country. To date endorsements include: - Monia Mazigh - Filmmaker Denys Arcand - Musician Bruce Cockburn - Labour leaders Paul Moist (CUPE), - Buzz Hargrove (CAW) and - Deborah Bourque (CUPW) and - James Clancy (NUPGE) - NDP Leader Jack Layton and - MP Ed Broadbent - Flora MacDonald, former Canadian foreign minister "I believe that the Security Certificate process is undemocratic and violates fundamental human rights. We demand that the process be abolished," Clancy says. "All of us must stand up in defence of the rule of law." The statement demands that those currently imprisoned under security certificates be released immediately or, if a case against them exists, that they be allowed to defend themselves in open, fair and independent trials with full disclosure of the case against them - and that they not be deported. "Even the House of Commons standing committee on citizenship and Immigration has recommended that the security certificate be eliminated," Clancy notes. "I hope the government is listening!" Events are scheduled in cities across Canada to oppose the Security Certificate. More information: Statement Against Security Certificates

Justice for Mohamed Harkat