SUMMARY OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S SUMISSIONS TO THE UN COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
Canada underwent its fourth review of its compliance to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in May 2005. Amnesty International provided written submission for the Committee to consider during the review. Highlighting the cases of Maher Arar, William Sampson, Zahra Kazemi, and Muayyed Nurredin, all Canadian citizens subjected to torture while abroad, Amnesty International’s brief made recommendations on steps the government should take to better protect Canadian citizens from being tortured in other countries. Our submissions also stressed that Canada can and must do more to improve its own domestic record with respect to preventing torture and ill treatment, including by providing access to civil redress against foreign officials for torture in Canadian courts, and bringing Canadian law in line with the international principle against non-refoulement.
OUTCOMES OF THE REVIEW
Among its concerns, the Committee against Torture’s Concluding Observations noted that under certain circumstances, Canadian law permits deportation to torture and ill-treatment despite the absolute prohibition in international law against refoulement; that Canada played a role in the rendition to and torture in Syria of Maher Arar; that certain categories of individuals are barred from accessing Canada’s refugee determination system; and that victims of torture cannot obtain civil remedies for their torture. The Committee made a number of recommendations, including that Canada unconditionally bring its law in line with the non-refoulement principle, provide better protections to Canadians detained abroad, and ensure that victims of torture at the hands of foreign officials have access to civil remedies in Canadian courts.
Fourth Periodic Report of Canada to the Committee against Torture (CAT/C/55/Add.8, 9 January 2004)
Concluding Observations of the Committee against Torture on Canada’s fourth periodic review (CAT/C/CR/34/CAN, 7 July 2005)