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That “other” issue Canadians aren’t going to like either.

It’s almost unfortunate this Mulroney stuff has to be happening at this particular moment, because the Afghan detainees issue is probably more important in the scheme of things, and it has popped back up in the news as well, with a sweeping condemnation of Canada by Amnesty International in being complicit of torture in Afghanistan:

Last May, under the threat of a federal court injunction, the Canadian government negotiated an improved arrangement. But the new arrangement has failed to work. According to Amnesty International, transferred detainees remain “at substantial risk of torture and other ill-treatment.” The human rights organization also criticizes Canada for downplaying the number of transfers that occur. It suggests that as many as 200 detainees may have been moved from Canadian custody, not including the many immediate transfers that take place during joint Canada-Afghan military operations. And it expresses concerns that the Canadian government’s investigation into abuse claims early this year may have been neither “competent” nor “impartial.”

That last part doesn’t surprise me: listening to the Cons. in QP and the media, according to them, all that these torture accusations are is Taliban propaganda designed to make the country (and by extension this government) look bad, so of course any investigation they did would be not done seriously, and only done as a public relations ploy to get the heat off of them.

By the way, Cons., not only is torture against the Geneva Conventions and international law, but it’s also against international convention to transfer prisoners “where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be tortured. Any country that does so is, under universally accepted rules of ‘state responsibility’, no less culpable than the country directly engaged in the abuse..

Amnesty International calls for a temporary moratorium on the prisoner transfers until the Afghan detention system is reformed and the Afghan officials trained and monitored so that these abuses don’t occur. A quite reasonable suggestion, I’d say.. and one the Cons better heed, because most Canadians (other then the rabid right-wing frothy bunch) don’t like the fact we were once widely respected as a country that defended human rights, and now we seem to be sliding towards the US Republican view on this – where anything can be done with impunity if you invoke it in the name of fighting terrorism.

As Dave says here, the issue isn’t dead – it’s just going to hit under a different news cycle after the Mulroney fracas dies down, but it won’t be going away, as much as the Cons. want it to. This issue, I assert, has more potential to do damage to the government then the Mulroney affair does.


1 comment to That “other” issue Canadians aren’t going to like either.

  • kursk

    Do you suggest we house, feed and guard Taleban detainees, or would you rather Canadian forces not engage them at all? This would obviate the need to have to deal with the issue, which we are obliged to do under the Afghan compact…

    Are you of the opinion we should house them in Canada, if you feel that they cannot get the compassion in Afghanistan that they so obviously deserve?

    Again Scott, why are you so concerned with these non-uniformed combatants? It seems that more text is consumed worrying about the poor dears safety than that of the Canadian forces…would you care to balance these opinions with a long post or two complimenting the fine work of our men and women, or is that not in your playbook?

    If you feel that we are abondoning our human rights watch under the Harper govt, i would suggest that you have not been looking very hard.I would direct you in just one instance, that of Burma, though there are others as you well know.It would seem to many Canadians it was the liberals who abrogated that responsibilty over the last decade or so with their passing interest in human rights regarding China, or the Jewish plight in the middle east…

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