Curb terror, not rights

posted on October 19, 2005 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Original author: unsigned editorial
Source: The Toronto Star
URL: [link]
Date: October 19, 2005

Does Canada's national security after 9/11 really depend on being able to ship suspected terrorists back to countries where they may be tortured or executed, in violation of international law?

It's hard to believe, given that Ottawa has never used that power. But it dearly wants to, in the case of a handful of terror suspects here.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee wonders why. Canada has abolished the death penalty. And we subscribe to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which declares that "no one shall be subjected to torture." On terror, our policy fights with our ideals.

That left Canada catching flak this week as the U.N. panel in Geneva reviewed our approach to political and civil rights. Chair Christine Chanet and others raised child poverty, aboriginal rights, gender discrimination and other issues. They are complex matters. But Chanet pointedly noted the ban on exposing people to torture is absolute. The panel will comment by Nov. 3.

There's a message here for Prime Minister Paul Martin, and not only from the U.N. but also from Amnesty International and respected jurists.

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