Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Colvin's Letter & The Heart of the Issue

Colvin's letter today proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we Canadians deserve better. We are entitled to absolute and full disclosure from our federal government. Harper's government must answer why it took seventeen months to act, when it knew, categorically, that the detainees we were handing over to Afghan authorities were at a high risk of being tortured. Anything less than full disclosure is unacceptable!

From Colvin's letter, page 3 [emphasis added]:

"From February 2006 ... to May 3, 2007 (when Canada signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on detainees that gave us the right to monitor), our detainees continued to be transferred to the NDS, despite a substantial risk of abuse or torture.

Unlike our NATO allies in the south, we chose not to monitor our detainees. Because of notification delays, the Red Cross was also unable to monitor during the first days or weeks of detention, when the risk of torture was highest. Information on detainee transfers had to be sent to the ICRC via CEFCOM in Ottawa, where the information remained until CEFCOM commander Lieutenant‐General Michel Gauthier forwarded it. As late as spring 2007, there were delays in notification of up to 34 days.

Monitoring in Kandahar was implemented by a rotating pool of officers, some on very short deployments. As a result, Canadian detainees in NDS custody in Kandahar remained at risk of torture. Even after the new MOU was signed, Ottawa for the first five months did not send a dedicated DFAIT monitor to conduct the monitoring.When a dedicated monitor was finally sent out in late October 2007, he quickly found conclusive evidence of continued torture. This finally triggered a Canadian decision to stop transfers.

From the PRT’s warning of 2 June, 2006 ‐‐ which noted serious concerns about the treatment of Canadian detainees in Afghan custody ‐‐ until the cessation of transfers to the NDS was seventeen months."

1 comment:

  1. There is speculation that the Tories will pull the plug on the session so that they don't have to deal with anymore questions on the subject.

    Could a snap election be coming following the Olympics and a budget?