(OTTAWA, CANADA – 10/04/06) – The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) today called on members of Parliament to ensure that Canadian troops are not complicit in the torture of Afghani prisoners.
The call came after the release today of two new reports by human rights organizations and legal experts that Canadian soldiers could find themselves charged with war crimes in the International Criminal Court because of a government approved agreement on the handling of Afghani detainees.
The agreement, made by Canadian General Rick Hillier last year, sees Canadian soldiers giving their captives to local Afghan authorities. Human rights organizations have condemned the inhumane treatment of prisoners by Afghan officials.
“It is imperative that all members of Parliament examine this issue when debating Canada’s involved in the war in Afghanistan today,” says Karl Nickner, CAIR-CAN’s Executive Director. “Canada has a responsibility under international law to ensure that Afghan detainees captured by Canadian soldiers are not handed over to torture.”
International law requires Canada to ensure that detainees are not subjected to inhumane treatment, whether they are given to Afghan authorities or if they are transferred to third parties. Canadian soldiers could be charged with war crimes if they knowingly hand detainees over to possibility of torture.
At a community event this weekend, General Rick Hillier “challenged” Canadian Muslims to join the Canadian Armed Forces. Karl Nickner, CAIR-CAN’s Executive Director, today challenged General Hillier, “Canadian Muslims have no hesitation in ensuring that Canada is safe and secure. But the real challenge for our country is to both ensure that our troops do not engage in possible war crimes and to instead participate in the real reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.”
For more information, call Halima Mautbur at 613-795-2012.
Council on American-Islamic Relations CANADA
P.O. Box 13219, Ottawa, ONT, K2K 1X4