Support Reparations for Omar Khadr and Accountability of Security Agencies in Bill C-59
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Canada’s foreign policy aspires to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law as foundations of a just domestic and international society. Against these principles, the Canadian government wrongfully failed to provide adequate legal, moral, and material assistance to Canadian citizen, Omar Khadr, who at age 15 was the youngest inmate, and after ten years, was the last citizen from a Western country to be transferred from Guantánamo Bay. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2010, ‘The deprivation of [his] right to liberty and security of the person is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.’ The Canadian government, until now, has never desired or been able to acknowledge or pursue accountability or reparation for the blatant disregard for the rule of law in the treatment of Omar Khadr since his capture in 2002, or for torture and mistreatment during his subsequent decade-long forced detention.
This petition supports the Government of Canada’s reported settlement package with Omar Khadr to acknowledge its responsibility for wrongdoing, apologize, and pay compensation, in this case. In addition, this petition supports efforts in Bill C-59, to implement promptly and effectively, adequate safeguards that would prevent Canadian government security agencies (RCMP and CSIS) from repeating such wrongdoing. This includes removing the provision that allows CSIS agents to violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in response to vaguely defined security threats. In addition, Bill C-59 should clarify oversight and accountability mechanisms to monitor and hold responsible individual agents who, in their roles in security agencies, contravene their obligations under domestic and international law. Accountability mechanisms should also extend to those agents who, as in the Khadr case, fail to prevent and investigate violations of international law suffered by Canadian citizens, even when committed by foreign governments and agents.
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