Monday, March 06, 2006 – The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to speak out against the “human rights atrocity” of Guantanamo Bay.
“Canada must no longer be complicit through silence in the human rights atrocity that has become Guantanamo Bay,” says Riad Saloojee, CAIR-CAN’s executive director. “Canada must live up to its international reputation as a country that stands firmly and unequivocally in defending basic, universal human rights.”
CAIR-CAN was reacting to a report in the Globe and Mail which noted that Canada remains one of the few Western countries that has not condemned the controversial U.S. prison. The report also notes that Canada continues to give Afghan prisoners to U.S. forces, some of whom are sent to Guantanamo Bay.
A Canadian citizen is also being detained at the prison. Omar Khadr, first detained by U.S. forces in Afghanistan at the age of 15, alleges that he has been tortured while incarcerated. He is currently being subjected to the court proceedings of a U.S. military commission that does not meet international fair trial standards.
Canada has also been criticized by some civil liberties advocates for creating “Guantanamo North,” a special detention centre in Kingston, Ontario, that will soon imprison the four Muslim men currently being detained under the much-criticized security certificate process. The security certificate detainees, like the inmates of Guantanamo Bay, are subjected to indefinite detentions and are denied due process.
“Canada has a responsibility to ensure a safe and secure world through action that does not trample basic civil liberties and the rule of law,” says Halima Mautbur, CAIR-CAN’s human rights coordinator. “Prime Minister Harper must re-allign Canada’s position with the many other countries that have denounced Guantanamo Bay as an unacceptable and unjustifiable human rights disgrace.”
For more information, please contact Halima Mautbur at 613-254-9704 or 613-795-2012.