Press Releases

CAIR-CAN and CAF Make Submissions on RCMP Oversight to Arar Inquiry

(TORONTO, OTTAWA – 3/4/2005)- The Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) and the
Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) recently made
submissions to the Arar inquiry regarding an independent, arm’s-length
review mechanism for the RCMP’s activities involving national security. The
submissions were made as part of the Policy Review mandate of the inquiry,
which runs concurrently with an ongoing Factual Inquiry into the Canadian
government’s involvement in the Maher Arar affair.

The submissions to the inquiry focused both on the need to protect
essential rights and freedoms and the importance of ensuring transparency
and accountability of RCMP investigations involving national security.

On the issue of protecting rights and freedoms, the submission describes
the context within which RCMP abuses of rights and freedoms of Arab and
Muslim communities have occurred, and provides nine recommendations on how
such abuses may be curtailed. On the issue of accountability, the
submission calls for the creation of an RCMP review body that is
independent, has investigative, adjudicative, remedial and reporting
functions, and is accountable to the public through Parliament. In
addition, the submission calls for the creation of a special parliamentary
committee to review all Canadian national security and intelligence activities.

The entire submission may be viewed at:
www.caircan.ca/downloads/PRS-AC-02212005.pdf

“It is our profound hope that the Commission will begin to right the wrongs
done to Canadian Arabs and Muslims in recent years by advancing
recommendations that redefine the security paradigm and re-invigorate civil
rights and freedoms,” said Omar Alghabra, CAF president. “While it is
critical that we all find out what has transpired with regards to Mr. Arar,
this inquiry is in essence about preserving the rights of all Canadians.”

“The Arar case has eroded the legitimacy of the RCMP as a Canadian
institution in the eyes of many Canadians and current accountability
mechanisms have proven inadequate in answering the troubling questions
regarding Arar’s deportation and torture,” said CAIR-CAN Executive Director
Riad Saloojee. “A transparent and effective oversight mechanism is critical
in restoring the confidence in our national police service.”

Recently, Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP,
Shirley Heafey, underscored the same concerns in her report to the Arar
Commission and stated that “effective, ongoing review is a key aspect of
police accountability [and] that there is an urgent need for reform if we
are to have effective civilian review of RCMP conduct.”

-END-

CONTACT: Omar Alghabra, CAF president, (905) 302-6787;
Riad Saloojee, CAIR-CAN Executive Director, (613) 254-9704; (613) 795-2012.

 

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