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|Written by Staff Writer|
|Friday, 08 June 2012 10:37|
A United Nations report says Canada owes an apology and compensation to Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin.
The report by the UN Committee Against Torture accuses the federal government of being “complicit” in human rights violations committed against the three Arab-Canadian men who were held and tortured in Egypt and Syria after 9-11.
"The committee is seriously concerned at the apparent reluctance on (the) part of the (government) to protect rights of all Canadians detained in other countries," the report reads.
Though Canada eventually compensated and apologized to Maher Arar, the first Canadian detained abroad and tortured, the feds have refused to do the same for Mr. Almalki, Mr. El Maati and Mr. Nureddin, despite the 2008 Iacobucci Inquiry which found that the actions of Canadian officials contributed indirectly to the torture of the three men.
The UN report also refers to "Canadian officials' complicity in the human rights violation of Omar Khadr while detained at Guantánamo Bay." It recommends that Canada "promptly approve Omar Khadr's transfer application and to ensure that he receives appropriate redress for human rights violations that the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled he experienced."
The report further faults changes to Canada's immigration laws proposed by the Conservative government. It says the use of secret evidence against suspected terrorists amounts to a violation of their rights. It adds that "information obtained by torture has been reportedly used to form the basis of security certificates, as evidenced by the case of Hassan Almrei."
Alarm was also raised by the government's changes to the law on human smuggling. The UN panel behind the report says it is "deeply concerned about Bill C-31 (the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act), given that, with its excessive Ministerial discretion, this Act would…introduce mandatory detention for individuals who enter irregularly the State party's territory; and exclude 'irregular arrivals' as well as individuals who are nationals of designated "safe" countries from having an appeal hearing of a rejected refugee claim.
Canada needs a policy that clearly bars the transfer of prisoners to countries where there are "substantial grounds" to suspect a risk of torture, regardless of any diplomatic assurances or arrangements, the report reads. It also condemns Public Safety Minister Vic Toews' highly publicized move to catch alleged war criminals by posting their names and faces online.
In response, Julie Carmichael, a spokeswoman for Mr. Toews, said to the Associate Press that it was disappointing that the UN agency spent time condemning Canada "when there are serious concerns regarding human rights violations across the world."
The UN Committee Against Torture is dedicated to reviewing the record of compliance and implementation of UN treaties by member states. The committee reviewed Canada's record with respect to human rights and torture prevention going back to 2005. ■