PM Trudeau: No to Public Inquiry on Afghan Detainee Transfe

PM Trudeau: No to Public Inquiry on Afghan Detainee Transfe

Postby Oscar » Thu Jun 09, 2016 4:53 pm

Open Letter to PM urging Public Inquiry on Afghan Detainee Transfers

[ ... 016_EN.pdf ]

(Ottawa) Signed by 41 human rights experts, former and current parliamentarians and other eminent Canadians, an Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was just released by the Rideau Institute, further to their earlier report, entitled: Torture of Afghan Detainees: Canada’s Alleged Complicity and the Need for a Public Inquiry, (Omar Sabry, September, 2015, Rideau Institute and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives publishers).
[ ... inees2.pdf ]

For the French Executive Summary of the Report click Sommaire executif.
[ ... ecutif.pdf ]

"We write to you today to urge you to launch a Commission of Inquiry into Canada’s policies and practices relating to the transfer of hundreds of detainees to Afghan authorities during Canada’s military mission in that country.”

This Open Letter comes just days before the Government of Canada must formally respond in writing to e-70 (Afghanistan), an electronic petition to Parliament calling on the Government of Canada:

“to establish an independent judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the facts with respect to policies, practices, legal and other opinions, decisions, and conduct of Canadian government actors, including Ministers and senior officials, concerning Afghan detainees throughout Canada's involvements in Afghanistan from 2001”.

The Open Letter recalls the systematic blockage by the previous Harper government of all efforts to investigate this matter. It further recalls the dogged efforts of then Liberal Opposition MPs, Stéphane Dion and Ralph Goodale, to convince the Harper government to establish a public inquiry.

In the words of the signatories to the Open letter: “As a result of the previous government’s stonewalling, there were no lessons learned, and no accountability. In a future military deployment, the same practices could reoccur.” Accordingly, they call on Prime Minister Trudeau to establish a commission of inquiry that could make recommendations with a view to ensuring that Canadian policy and practice going forward is fully in accordance with the universal prohibition of torture.”

Click (Afghan_OpenLetter-Jun7-2016_EN) [ ... 016_EN.pdf ] for the full English text of, and signatories to, the Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and (Afghan_OpenLetter-Jun7-2016_FR) [ ... 016_FR.pdf ] for the French version.

See also the report: Torture of Afghan Detainees: Canada’s Alleged Complicity and the Need for a Public Inquiry, (Omar Sabry, September, 2015, Rideau Institute and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives publishers). [ ... inees2.pdf ]

The electronic petition to parliament e-70 (Afghanistan) to which the government must respond in writing by 17 June 2016 is available at: [ ... ition=e-70 ].

For recent media reaction to the Open Letter, see: "Trudeau urged to reopen Afghan detainee investigation" [ ... stigation/ ] (The Canadian Press, June 8, 2016)

At the June 8th press conference launching the Open Letter, Alex Neve of Amnesty International outlined the reasons why a Commission of Inquiry into the approach Canada took to handling detainees in Afghanistan is so very important:

"Every time a prisoner was transferred from Canadian hands into Afghan custody – transferred despite a well documented, well known risk of torture – every time that happened, the Canadian soldiers and military police on the ground, their senior and commanding officers, and the military brass and responsible ministers who gave the orders and set the policy, all became complicit in torture."

For the full text of his remarks click: [ Alex-Neve-Afghan prisoners-June-8 ].

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Re: Open Letter to PM urging Public Inquiry on Afghan Detain

Postby Oscar » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:46 am

Canada shirks its responsibilities under international law

[ ]

June 17, 2016

The Canadian government has rejected the call, made in petition E-70, for a Public Inquiry into the Treatment of Afghan Detainees.

“The government of Prime Minister Trudeau [through Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan] has just responded to e-petition E-70, which calls for a commission of inquiry into the treatment of Afghan detainees by Canada. Notwithstanding that the Liberal Party, while in opposition, voted for a motion in the House of Commons calling for just such a commission of inquiry (a motion which passed), the Liberal government has now rejected this call. – Craig Martin Scott, e-petition initiator [ ... t-craig-m/ ]

The text of the government response can be found here. (Scroll down the page to the section called “Government response” and click on the embedded PDF link OR click Govt Response to E70-421-00217_DND_E-date June 17 2016 to go directly to a copy of the response. [ ... 7-2016.pdf ]

While its forces were deployed in Kandahar, Canada routinely transferred detainees to Afghan custody in full knowledge of the extremely high risk of torture. In so doing, Canada failed utterly to prevent the torture of many of them, thus flouting one of the most basic legal and moral obligations: the prohibition of torture, enshrined in customary international law, international human rights treaties, international humanitarian law, and Canada’s own Criminal Code.

Yet, the Minister of Defence concludes the official response as follows:

“Throughout Canada’s military operations in Afghanistan, the Government of Canada ensured individuals detained by the CAF were treated humanely and handled, transferred or released in accordance with our obligations under international law."

Says Craig Scott:

“These words could have been penned, word for word, by the previous Conservative government…. It is deeply disappointing that the Liberal government has chosen to add another link to a chain of complicity that for over a decade has seen non-stop efforts on the part of various Canadian government actors to hide the truth and block any form of accountability.

On the issue of the government’s response coming from the Minister of National Defence, Craig Scott states:

“I wish to be clear that it is wholly inappropriate that Minister Sajjan has headed this decision process, given the possibility he may have relevant general knowledge (and possibly also specific knowledge) arising from his command and military intelligence roles in Afghanistan at relevant times. Minister Sajjan should have recused himself from this decision.

I do not believe Canada can seriously promote human rights and rule of law values, let alone try to project a “Canada is back” sunny virtue, around the world when we are not prepared to account for Canadians’ concern about our own complicity in torture, disappearances and extra-judicial killings—by way of our policies and practices of transferring captives to Afghan agencies known to engage in frequent and/or systematic perpetration of these violations—and our own alleged direct involvement in abusive treatment of detainees while simultaneously setting up a system to hide the fact those detainees were in our custody (as just revealed in the La Presse reports). [ ... enonce.php ]

Click June 17 2016 – statement_by_C_Scott on govt e70 response for the full text of the remarks by Craig Scott.
[ ... ponse-.pdf ]

The Open Letter from over 40 prominent Canadians, including the Right Honourable Joe Clark, calling for a Public Inquiry can be found here: Afghan_OpenLetter-Jun7-2016_EN. [ ... 016_EN.pdf ]

Recent CBC news coverage of the government’s response can be found here:
[ ... -1.3640411 ]
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