Press release: Two Canadian Human Rights Organizations Urge Canada to Comply with the UN Committee against Torture Recommendations in the Case of Omar Khadr

bkg-Khadr-WaterIn May 2012, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) provided the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) with a report—the Briefing to the Committee against Torture, 48th Session, May 2012 on the Omar Khadr Case—identifying contraventions by Canada of its obligations under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) in the case of Canadian citizen Omar Khadr.

Following the sixth review of Canada’s performance in respect to its obligations under the UNCAT, the CAT, in Concluding Observations published on 25 June 2012, identified 18 specific issues of concern and recommendations for remedial action needed to bring Canada into compliance with UNCAT. Several of these Concluding Observations mirrored the remedial action identified by LRWC/ICLMG as necessary to compliance with Canada’s UNCAT obligations.

Today, more than three years later and in response to an invitation from the Department of Canadian Heritage, LRWC and ICLMG provided an additional report outlining LRWC/ICLMG’s recommendations for measures necessary to implement CAT recommendations.

LRWC and ICLMG requested that the Government of Canada, in answering the questions posed by the CAT (the LOIPR), treat the term “redress” as including duties to fully investigate the torture and ill-treatment to which Omar Khadr was subjected during his imprisonment, to identify and hold accountable those responsible, to ensure proper redress for Omar Khadr and adopt measures to prevent further occurrences, in accordance with the provisions of the UNCAT.

LRWC/ICLMG state that the proper definition of “redress” captures and makes Canada responsible to provide redress for the torture and ill-treatment suffered by Omar Khadr throughout his entire period of imprisonment by the United States.

LRWC and ICLMG request the Government of Canada to provide CAT with full details of the efforts Canada has taken or plans to take to address:

  • CAT recommendations relevant to the Omar Khadr case and the issue of redress as defined by CAT;
  • LOIPR questions relevant to the Omar Khadr case and Canada’s duties to ensure full redress for the torture and ill-treatment of Omar Khadr;
  • Recommendations outlined in the LRWC/ICLMG briefing to CAT and the LRWC report to the Canadian Department of Heritage; and
  • The LRWC and ICLMG concerns set out in the report.

Canada has contravened to every aspect of its UNCAT duties in the Omar Khadr case. To remedy these sweeping contraventions, Canada must enact legislation to create a process by which complaints can be made and to ensure the investigation of complaints, the prosecution or discipline of suspected perpetrators and full redress for the victims. Canada must also develop a programme for delivery and assessment of education and training about UNCAT duties for public servants, including judges, charged with responsibility for detained people. Canada should develop this legislation and these programmes and policies in consultation with civil society organizations with expertise.

LRWC and ICLMG request involvement in the implementation of the CAT recommendations.

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