UN group criticizes Canada over detainees, women, natives

posted on November 04, 2005 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Original author: Norma Greenaway
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
URL: [link] (subscribers only)
Date: November 04, 2005

A UN panel has rapped Canada for its use of security certificates to indefinitely detain non-Canadians on national security grounds in a blunt, albeit diplomatically worded report that also criticizes its treatment of aboriginals and women.

Canadian human rights groups cheered the report by the UN Committee on Human Rights as welcome ammunition in the campaign to get the attention of federal and provincial governments over gaps in their performance on human rights.

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Canada urged to investigate its alleged role in torture

posted on November 03, 2005 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Original author: Jeff Sallot
Source: The Globe and Mail
URL: [link]
Date: November 3, 2005

OTTAWA -- Canada needs to publicly investigate allegations its officials may be complicit in the torture of Canadian citizens in the Middle East, the United Nations Human Rights Committee says in a report that criticizes federal anti-terrorism measures.

But there is no need for a public inquiry, says Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, cabinet's anti-terrorism chief. She refuses to say whether Ottawa has conducted internal investigations of the cases.

The UN panel said yesterday "it is concerned by allegations that Canada may have co-operated with agencies known to resort to torture with the aim of extracting information from individuals detained in foreign countries," referring to the cases of three Canadian Muslim men who were arrested in Syria and say they were brutally interrogated about information they believe was supplied by federal authorities.

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Canada's fraying anti-terror policy

posted on November 01, 2005 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Original author: unsigned editorial
Source: The Toronto Star
URL: [link]
Date: November 1, 2005

Prime Minister Paul Martin's government has vented a blast of outrage at Syria, now that a fact-finder has confirmed what many had long believed, and that was that an innocent Canadian, Maher Arar, was tortured in Damascus after American officials shipped him there to be squeezed for information as a suspected terrorist.

Arar was beaten with steel cables during 18-hour interrogation sessions and was held for 10 months in a tiny cell. Despite strenuous Syrian denials, Stephen Toope, a McGill University law professor, concluded Arar's claims of being tortured were credible, and squared with reports of abuse from three other Canadians who were held in Syria and treated harshly.

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Canadian Groups Call On UN To Hold Canada Accountable

posted on October 21, 2005 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Original author: Press Release Source: CNW Telbec and No One Is Illegal (Vancouver) Date: October 18, 2005

For Immediate Release GENEVA, Oct. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - 19 representatives of Canadian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are in Geneva, Switzerland for the review by the United Nations Human Rights Committee of Canada's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Yesterday, on the International Day for the Elimination of Poverty, the NGOs made submissions that provided Committee members with the benefit of their experience and that of their constituents on the realities of what has been happening on the ground in Canada. The NGOs represent a wide range of interes t areas and are in Geneva to highlight the desperate situation faced by members of numerous disadvantaged groups in Canada. "The members of the UN Human Rights Committee were plainly troubled by the deepening of poverty in Canada and by the continuing inadequacy of welfare programs, which the National Council of Welfare has called an 'utter disaster'. They particularly noted the negative effect on women, Aboriginal peoples, racialized minorities and people with disabilities. Canada was also asked about the concerted slashing of social programs and protections undertaken recently by the Government of British Columbia," said Shelagh Day of the Feminist Alliance for International Alliance.

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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.

[ Read the rest ... ] Report to the U.N. - Download It Here

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

Source: Date: October 18, 2005 Here is a brief presented by Amnesty International (Canada) to the U.N.: PROTECTION GAP: STRENGTHENING CANADA'S COMPLIANCE WITH ITS INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS OBLIGATIONS - Amnesty International Canada's Submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the occasion of the consideration of the Fifth Periodic Report of Canada

Canada chided over rights

posted on October 14, 2005 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Original author: Jeff Sallot Source: The Globe and Mail URL: [link] Date: October 14, 2005 [See also Amnesty Press Release below this article or go to http:/ for further details.] Ottawa criticized for attempting to deport people to countries where they risk torture

Ottawa - Canada ignores its international legal obligations when it maintains it has the right to deport people to countries where they risk torture, Amnesty International says in a report card to the United Nations. "International law is very clear . . . the international legal protection against torture, including removal to face torture, is absolute and applies in all circumstances, and Canadian law and practice must be reformed accordingly," Amnesty says. The Amnesty report, to be presented to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva next week, also takes the federal government to task for imprisoning four Muslim men without charges as alleged security risks and failing to implement a long-promised independent appeal process for people making refugee claims. The UN panel conducts periodic reviews of how member states are living up to their human-rights obligations. This year, Canada is one of the countries being put under the microscope.

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Canadian government defends intelligence extracted through torture

posted on October 11, 2005 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Original author: Keith Jones
Source: World Socialist Web Site
URL: [link]
Date: September 22, 2005

The Canadian government told a public inquiry last week that barring Canadian security forces from acting on information obtained through torture would place Canadian lives at unwarranted risk.

Former and current high-level Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) officials have previously told the inquiry looking into Canadian government involvement in the ordeal of Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian who was imprisoned and tortured in Syria with the complicity of US and Canadian authorities, that CSIS will use information it believes was obtained through torture. But it has concerns about torture-generated intelligence, since people frequently make false confessions to escape further abuse.

In its final brief to the Arar inquiry, the federal government mounted a vigorous defence of current CSIS practice, while arguing that the Canadian state bears no responsibility for the human rights abuses that Arar suffered.

"CSIS will take information from all sources," declared the federal brief. "If information it suspects has been obtained by torture can be independently corroborated and is important to an investigation of a threat to Canada, the information would be used."

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Canadian Muslim and Arab Groups Deeply Concerned Over CSIS Practices

posted on September 15, 2005 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Original author: PRESSS RELEASE Source: CAIR-CAN URL: [link] Date: September 14, 2005 For immediate release

(Ottawa, Canada - 14/09/05) - The National Council on Canada-Arab Relations (NCCAR), the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) and the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN), supported by a coalition of organisations and community leaders, are alarmed over allegations that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) discriminates against people who associate with Arab causes. A leaked report written by the former chairperson of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) following a complaint by a diplomatic appointee who was denied top-security status has found fault with CSIS for leaping to the â?œunqualifiedâ?? conclusion that a person who supports Arab causes should be deemed suspicious. The report also says that CSIS attempted to mislead SIRC to save the spy agency from embarrassment.

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Canada's Syrian connection

posted on August 31, 2005 | in Category Canada | PermaLink

Original author: Alex Neve
Source: The Globe and Mail
URL: [link] (subscribers only)
Date: August 31, 2005

No one can now say that what happened to Maher Arar in the U.S. and Syria in 2002/2003 was an unfortunate misadventure beyond Canada's control, or the result of a series of mistakes due to poor training or inadequate resources. Abdullah Almalki and Ahmad El Maati's harrowing descriptions in this newspaper of arrest, torture and months of imprisonment without charge in Syria and Egypt make that wrenchingly clear.

Considered alongside testimony of imprisonment and torture in Syria provided by Muayyed Nureddin last year, it adds up to this: These are not tragic coincidences. Throughout 2001, 2002 and 2003, something was at play. A number of Canadians suspected as possible supporters of terrorist activities, either on the basis of undisclosed allegations or by virtue of whom they knew, ended up in foreign jails where torturers did their work -- with the apparent indifference of Canadian security agencies. Who allowed this to happen? And why?

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