Rally to Abolish Security Certificates

Posted by admin on Jun 7th, 2005

June 8th, 2005 4:30. Vancouver Art Gallery (Robson side)

This action is part of a pan-Canadian day to Stop Secret Trials in Canada. Canada’s Secret Trial Five are five Muslim men whose lives have been torn apart by accusations that they are not allowed to fight in a fair and independent trial. All five men were arrested under “Security Certificates,” a measure of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that has been described by Amnesty International as “fundamentally flawed and unfair”. Security certificates and secret evidence reverse the fundamental rule of innocent until proven guilty. Neither the detainee nor his lawyer are informed of the precise allegations or provided with the full information against him. They are imprisoned indefinitely without charges on secret evidence and face deportation to their countries of origin, even if there is a substantial risk of torture or death.

June 8 is the anniversary of the day on which Canada signed the Convention against torture. It is an appropriate day to bring attention to the fact that the Canadian government, using security certificates, is trying to deport five men although the Immigration department recognises they are at risk of torture if forced out. It is also a good opportunity to highlight the numerous other ways in which Canada, using other anti-migrant tools, is engaging in forcing people into situations where they will be tortured; is using information extracted under torture in security certificate cases; is exchanging information with secret services recognised as complicit in physical and psychological torture; is failing to criticise the use of torture by its allies in Iraq, Guantanomo, Palestine, Afghanistan and Europe; is enabling the use of torture facilities in Afghanistan; and is itself using police tactics and prison conditions of physical and psychological torture.

It is no coincidence, in a situation like the present, where the “war on terror” is being used to advance an agenda of economic and political domination, that norms against torture are coming under deliberate and concerted pressure. Security Certificates are a tool that has been put to use in the post-9/11 climate of racist hysteria around “national security” to attack the Muslim and Arab communities, migrants and broader civil liberties. The historical parallels are clear: Japanese-Canadians interned and deported from Canada during World War II and the “red scare” of the McCarthy era. These should stand as warnings to us.

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