(New York/HRW) - The Canadian government should immediately request the repatriation of Canadian citizen Omar Khadr from Guantanamo even though Canada's Supreme Court did not order it to do so, Human Rights Watch said today. Khadr, who was 15 years old when the US military took him into custody in Afghanistan, has been held at Guantanamo since 2002.
Human Rights Watch, in conjunction with the University of Toronto law faculty's human rights clinic, appeared before the court on Khadr's behalf as one of nine interveners in the case. Arguing that Canada had become complicit in US treatment and abuse of Khadr, Human Rights Watch said the only reasonable remedy would be for Canada to seek his repatriation.
"The Canadian Supreme Court today unequivocally condemned Canada's participation in Khadr's interrogations at Guantanamo as violations of Khadr's human rights, Canada's constitution, and "basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth." The court declined to order the Canadian government to seek Khadr's repatriation because doing so would intrude upon the executive's discretion in foreign affairs. However, the court held that the effects of US and Canadian violations continue into the present and that the Canadian government must, in exercising its foreign affairs powers, take this into account.
"Canada was complicit in some of the abuse Omar Khadr faced at Guantanamo" said Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch. "Canada's Supreme Court today condemned Khadr's treatment in the strongest terms. The Harper government should now work to bring Omar Khadr home to Canada."
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.