By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Four men with detailed accounts of being tortured in Afghanistan and Guantanamo…
OTTAWA – Four men with detailed accounts of being tortured in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay have filed a complaint against Canada with the United Nations over Ottawa’s refusal to prosecute former U.S. president George W. Bush.
It is the latest attempt by human rights advocates to arrest the former U.S. leader for alleged crimes perpetrated during the American-led fight against terrorism.
The Canadian Centre for International Justice and the U.S.-based Centre for Constitutional Rights filed the complaint on behalf of Hassan bin Attash, Sami el-Hajj, Muhammed Khan Tumani and Murat Kurnaz.
They maintain Canada should have investigated and prosecuted Bush during his visit to British Columbia last year, in compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture.
The complaint says that in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, the four men experienced inhumane treatment including beatings, being hung from walls or ceilings, denial of sleep, food and water, and exposure to extreme temperatures.
Canada, unlike the United States, is among the countries that allows individuals to file petitions with the UN committee for alleged breaches of the convention.
Justice Department briefing notes on the subject say that while Canada will not become a safe haven for those involved in crimes against humanity, such investigations are complex, lengthy and resource intensive.
“To ensure the most efficient use of resources, Canada prioritizes suspects who reside in Canada,” say the notes, prepared for Canada’s latest appearance before the UN committee and recently released under the Access to Information Act.
All war crimes cases require the consent of the federal attorney general before charges can be laid, the note adds. “Therefore, from a practical perspective the police consult with the appropriate authorities prior to an individual’s arrest.”
The note continues that “if pressed” for information on Bush and Cheney, officials should tell the UN committee, “Generally speaking, Canada does not address specific criminal complaints in a public forum.”
By Gabriela Perdomo - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 10:40 AM - 0 Comments
A resident files a human rights complaint after city officials dig up his past
The city of Gatineau in Quebec laid out its “statement of values” for immigrants late last year and immediately set off a firestorm of criticism. Among Gatineau’s instructions to immigrants: avoid cooking “smelly foods,” maintain good “personal hygiene” and abstain from bribing. One of those incensed by the guide was Kamal Maghri, a 38-year-old Moroccan immigrant who moved to Canada 11 years ago. But when Maghri sent an email to the city to say he would like to file a complaint, what he got back surprised him. City officials accidentally copied him on an internal exchange that showed they’d dug extensively into his background, calling a local Islamic centre to ask about him and prying into his financial situation.
In the emails, one employee noted Maghri had come to Canada “just before the September 11 attacks” and that he was in debt. “I was shocked. This is racial profiling,” he says. Even more astonishing, he says he later learned that the city official who wrote the email was a “diversity coordinator.” “They [Gatineau City] have people working on diversity and integration of immigrants who don’t even believe in it,” he says. Only after Maghri went to the media did officials apologize to him.
In mid-December, Maghri was contacted by the Montreal-based Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations offering to help file a human rights complaint, which he did in mid-January. The complaint claims discrimination and racial profiling on the part of the city of Gatineau, both based on the values guide and on the email that Maghri read.
At least one expert believes Maghri has a strong case. Jeffrey Reitz, a professor with the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and an immigration expert, says the guide “stereotypes immigrants in a negative way,” portraying them as “a threat” to our society.