CCLA Appears Before UN Committee Against Torture

May 18, 2012


The Canadian Civil Liberties Association today made a presentation to members of the UN Committee Against Torture, at the United Nations Palais Wilson in Geneva. The Committee is comprised of ten legal experts from around the world, charged with overseeing how State Parties implement the Convention at home.

CCLA presented highlights from our report to the Committee Members, on Canada’s compliance with its legal obligations pursuant to the UN Convention Against Torture. Read our full report here, or a brief summary here.

CCLA answered questions regarding (i) the need for Canada to provide legal redress for victims of torture and State Immunity — in particular CCLA argued that interpretation of the State Immunity Act to bar civil suits for torture is tantamount to granting impunity for a violation of jus cogens; (ii) the need for Canada to recognize that domestic violence in the case of Nathalie Morin and her three children — all Canadian citizens unable to leave Saudi Arabia — can constitute torture and requires States to investigate and intervene – particularly where both Canada and Saudi Arabia are State Parties to the Convention Against Torture; (iii) CCLA’s concerns on the lack of implementation of legal safeguards and policy recommendations coming from the two Federal Commissions of Inquiry headed by Justices O’Connor and Iacobucci; (iv) and following from the last point, our concerns that plans for “information sharing and pooling” pursuant to the proposed Canada-US Security Perimeter must comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the recommendations of the two Inquiries; (v) Bill C31 and CCLA’s ongoing concerns regarding violations of the rights of refugees; (vi) incarceration and segregation of individuals with mental health issues; (vii) extradition, the principle of non-refoulement, and CCLA’s concern that individuals should not be deported or extradited to the risk of torture, the risk of a manifestly unfair trial, or to face charges based upon corrupted information procured from torture; and (viii) CCLA’s work in seeking accountability for the failures of the G20 policing in Toronto in 2010 and CCLA’s reaction to the OIPRD report released earlier this week.

The Canadian delegation will be appearing before the UN CAT on Monday, May 21, 2012, and Tuesday, May 22, 2012. CCLA will be providing the Committee Members with a summary brief, which we hope may be useful during the Constructive Dialogue between the Committee and the Canadian Delegation. We will keep you posted on the proceedings.