[imc-ontario-stories] 24 Hours Against Torture: June 8-9,
tasc at web.ca
Fri May 27 04:33:18 PDT 2005
(feel free to forward)
24 Hours Against Torture:
Stop Canadian Deportations to Torture
A 24-hour nonviolent vigil
Wednesday, June 8, 12 noon - Thursday, June 9, 12 noon
Minister of Deportation Joe Volpe's office
Bathurst and Lawrence (southwest corner), Toronto
Part of a nationwide day of action
Call (416) 651-5800 or email tasc at web.ca to let us know how long you can be
there. Feel free to come for an hour or two and then maybe return later!
The Bathurst bus runs 24 hours.
Join us as we demand that Joe Volpe and the government of Canada honour
their legal obligation to end ALL deportations to torture and stop secret
trials in Canada.
The government of Canada is attempting to deport five Muslim men to face
torture or death. "The Americans call it 'rendition.' Satirists call it
'outsourcing torture.' And I call it evil...What we do to baby seals we now
do to humans." Heather Mallick, Globe and Mail, April 9, 2005
"Torture is banned under international law. No exceptions are allowed, even
in times of war or national emergency. The ban includes the absolute
prohibition on transferring people to places where they face a risk of
torture." Human Rights Watch, April, 2005
DEPORTATIONS TO TORTURE?
Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture, to which Canada is a
signatory, is very clear: "No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler")
or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds
for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture."
This prohibition is generally recognized by the community of nations as an
absolute prohibition allowing for NO exceptions. However, like the
administration of George W. Bush, the government of Paul Martin continues
to defy its international law commitments and subject five men to a
court-sanctioned rendition (deportation to torture). Lawyers for Mr. Volpe
and "Public Safety" Minister Anne McLellan are pursuing efforts through the
Federal Court to have these men deported to torture.
The five men currently subject to a secret trial security certificate
--Mahmoud Jaballah, held since August, 2001; Mohammad Mahjoub, held since
June, 2000; Hassan Almrei, in solitary confinement since October, 2001;
Mohamed Harkat, held since December, 2002; and Adil Charkaoui, held May
2003-February 2005, now out" under draconian release conditions -- are,
even according to the Canadian government's own immigration bureaucracy,
facing a substantial risk of torture or death if deported to countries
including Syria, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco.
On May 20, The United Nations Committee on Torture recommended that Canada
join the rank of civilized nations and "unconditionally undertake to
respect the absolute nature of article 3 in all circumstances and fully to
incorporate the provision of article 3 into the State party's domestic
If you cannot be part of this vigil or an event but would like to help out,
June 8 would be a good day to at least call or write your MP and drop a
line to Joe Volpe and Anne McLellan about this issue. (Anne McLellan,
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, House of Commons, 306
Justice Building, Ottawa, K1A 0A6, (613) 992-2406, Fax: (613) 995-7408, and
Joe Volpe, Immigration Minister, Rm 658, Confederation Bldg, House of
ON K1A 0A6, (613) 992-6361, Fax: (613) 992-9791
TIP OF THE ICEBERG
The Secret Trial Five cases represent the tip of the iceberg. Indeed,
Canada continues to deport over 10,000 people to an uncertain fate every
year, often to human rights abusing countries. And the government's
pre-removal risk assessment, which determines the risk someone faces if
deported, has an approval rate of 1.5% (a remarkable figure, but not
surprising, given that the same department responsible for pursuing the
deportations conducts the risk assessments).
Equally shocking is Canada's nod and wink approach to torturers. The
government knew that Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi was subject to
unspeakable acts of torture in Iran, yet Canada sent new diplomatic
representation to that country and did not speak up about it until six
months later, after an Iranian refugee revealed this shocking fact).
And of course there is the ongoing case of Maher Arar, a Canadian subject
to rendition to Syria where he was tortured and detained almost a full
year. Mr. Arar is still seeking answers through a public inquiry which, so
far, has been a mainly secret inquiry.
WHAT IS CANADA SENDING PEOPLE BACK TO?
According to Amnesty International, the common forms of torture to which a
country like Canada is prepared to deport people include being "beaten with
fists, sticks, gun-butts, makeshift whips, iron pipes, baseball bats,
electric flex. Victims suffer bruises, internal bleeding, broken bones,
lost teeth, ruptured organs and some die.
"Rape and sexual abuse of prisoners is also widespread. Other common
methods of torture and ill-treatment include electric shocks (reported in
more than 40 countries), suspension of the body (more than 40 countries),
beating on the soles of the feet (more than 30 countries), suffocation
(more than 30 countries), mock execution or death threat (more than 50
countries) and prolonged solitary confinement (more than 50 countries).
Other methods include submersion in water, stubbing of cigarettes on the
body, being tied to the back of a car and being dragged behind it, sleep
deprivation and sensory deprivation."
This, then, is what Canadian tax dollars are being used for: to send the
Secret Trial Five and countless others back to countries where the
mutilation of genitals, the removal of finger and toenails, the repeated
near drowning in fetid toilets, suspension of the body in contorted
positions, and other cruelties are common practice.
Join us as we try and bring Canada in line with the norms of a civilized,
lawful country. If you are planning an event, please let us know at
tasc at web.ca
Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada
(416) 651-5800, tasc at web.ca, homesnotbombs.ca
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