Canada Accused of ‘Complicity’ in Torture in UN Report
In a biting report issued Friday, the United Nations Committee Against Torture condemns what it calls Canadian “complicity” in torture and human rights violations of Muslim men caught up in the post-9/11 security net.
The committee’s report condemns Canada’s practice, during the Afghan combat mission which ended last year, of handing prisoners over to Afghan security forces despite a “substantial risk” that they would be tortured.
In addition, the UN committee:
Recommends that Canada promptly approve the transfer of Omar Khadr from Guantanamo to Canadian custody.
Urges Canada to pay compensation to three men who were the subjects of the Iacobucci Inquiry — Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin.
Faults changes to Canada’s immigration laws which it says may increase the risk of human rights violations.
Almalki, Elmaati and Nureddin are all suing the federal government, alleging that Canada participated in their “extraordinary rendition” to Syria and Egypt, where they say they were tortured.
Khadr, meanwhile, has applied for return to his native Canada, but Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has not yet approved that transfer.
“The Committee is seriously concerned,” the UN panel says, “at the apparent reluctance on part of the State party [Canada] to protect rights of all Canadians detained in other countries, by comparison with the case of Maher Arar.” Arar received an apology and $10 million in compensation in 2006, after the O’Connor inquiry found U.S. agents, acting on information provided by the RCMP, took him to Syria, where he was tortured.