Friday, October 26, 2007

Canada and Human Rights. Howzit goin', eh?

Good news. Maher Arar got an apology from the US. Actually, 2 apologies. From Congressmen. Not the country. Okay, so he got 2 apologies from members of the House of Congress; apologies that were barely better than they would be had they come from private citizens.
JURIST - Paper Chase: US lawmakers apologize to rendition victim Arar
US lawmakers apologized Thursday to Maher Arar [advocacy website; CBC timeline], a Canadian engineer who was detained in the US in 2002 after flying to New York from Tunisia on his way home to Ottawa after a holiday and later deported to Syria, where he was tortured. Appearing by video before a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, Arar accepted apologies from Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass) [press release; opening statement, recorded video] and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif) [official website], and reiterated his hope that he would one day receive an official apology from the US government.

So what's Condi Rice got to say?
JURIST - Paper Chase: Rice admits shortcomings in US Arar rendition, but offers no apology
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified [recorded video] Wednesday in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee [official website] that the rendition [JURIST news archive] of Canadian citizen Maher Arar [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] was not "handled as it should have been," but stopped short of apologizing to the 37 year-old Syrian-born engineer. Arar was detained in the US in 2002 after flying to New York from Tunisia on his way home to Ottawa after a holiday and later deported to Syria, where he was tortured. Rice added that the US government has told the Canadian government that it will "try to do better in the future." This is the first time that the US government has admitted any mistakes in its handling of Arar's case.

Shorter Condi Rice: We made mistakes and will try to try to better in the future. But still, fuck you.

On the upside, all this shower of shits about one of ours being shipped off for torture has made Canada more careful about the treatment of others.
JURIST - Paper Chase: Canada government stalling Afghan detainee torture case: Amnesty
The Canadian government is trying to derail a lawsuit over whether the Canadian Army [official website] in Afghanistan is transferring custody of detainees to Afghan forces to face torture by bogging it down with a flurry of technical arguments, Amnesty International Canada [advocacy website] said Thursday.

JURIST - Paper Chase: UN rights chief chides Canada on weakened rights advocacy
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official website] Monday chided the Canadian government for not doing enough to maintain Canada's reputation in the global community as an advocate for human rights [JURIST news archive].

JURIST - Paper Chase: Canada government introduces new security certificates bill after high court debacle
The Canadian government Monday introduced a new security certificates bill [press release] in the House of Commons [official website] in response to a February Supreme Court decision [text] that gave it one year to re-write existing law or have that voided as unconstitutional. Security certificates [PSC backgrounder] allow the Canadian government to detain and deport foreign terrorist suspects in private hearings without the presence of suspects or their lawyers

JURIST - Paper Chase: Canada bill would reinstate controversial anti-terror measures
The Canadian government introduced a bill [S-3 text] Tuesday that would revive two controversial anti-terrorism provisions of the Anti-terrorism Act [materials] that expired earlier this year. The bill, brought forward in the Senate, would force anyone with relevant information on terrorist actions to go before a judge and would allow police to detain any person thought to be planning an attack. Several safeguards have been added to the provisions, including the requirement that police demonstrate to a judge that they have exhausted all other means before asking for an investigative hearing.

Oh. Never mind.

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