by Janet Cleveland and Sharryn J. Aiken
Source: The Globe and Mail
Date: December 18, 2009
In your editorial The Untenable And The Repugnant (Dec. 15)
, you say: "It is repugnant to deport someone to be tortured. It is also untenable to hold them indefinitely in jail ..." Yet, you advocate ignoring the risk of torture for an immigrant or refugee suspected on security grounds. Do they not qualify as "someone"? On this reasoning, Hassan Almrei would long ago have been deported to Syria based on CSIS allegations described by the Federal Court as unfounded and unreliable.
As former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour has said, "diplomatic assurances do not work as they do not provide adequate protection against torture and ill-treatment." And a number of individuals, notably Maher Arar, are known to have been tortured despite such assurances. The O'Connor commission concluded that Mr. Arar's torture in Syria is "a concrete example" that diplomatic assurances from totalitarian regimes have "no value."
Why give any weight to assurances from countries that routinely practise torture and deny doing so? Why believe they'll respect their promise not to torture a particular individual when they repeatedly violate international law's ban on such crimes?
Torture is carried out in secret. The Canadian government does not have the means or will to monitor respect of diplomatic assurances. Seeking such assurances is but a fig leaf for complicity in torture.
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