SUMMARY OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S SUBMISSIONS TO THE UN COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
Canada underwent its sixth review of its compliance to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in May 2012. Amnesty International provided written submissions at two stages of the review process: to assist the Committee against Torture in setting out its list of issues it would examine during the review, and submissions for the review itself.
Amnesty International’s submissions primarily emphasized concerns about a variety of ways in which Canadian action or inaction risks complicity in torture or other ill-treatment, through such means as inadequate efforts to protect Indigenous women from violence, prisoner transfers, deportations, national security relationships with foreign governments, and failure to ensure justice and accountability for torture. In addition, the brief outlines concern about the infliction of torture or other ill-treatment within Canada, including ongoing use of conducted energy devices and allegations of excessive force by police during various protests such as the Indigenous land protest at Tyendinaga or the demonstrations at the time of the June 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto.
OUTCOMES OF THE REVIEW
In its Concluding Observations, the Committee against Torture expressed a number of concerns regarding Canada’s failure to fulfill its international obligations with respect to torture and ill-treatment, including:
- The fact that Canadian law continues to permit, under certain circumstances, deportation to countries where individuals face a risk of torture or ill treatment;
- Lack of due process protections for individuals suspected of being national security threats and subjected to security certificates, in particular the inadequacy of the Special Advocate regime;
- Mandatory detention and denial of appeal rights in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act introduced in Bill C-31;
- Barriers to accessing remedies and obtaining redress for victims of torture inflicted outside of Canada in the State Immunity Act (for more information, see, e.g. Amnesty International’s intervention in Kazemi Estate v. Islamic Republic of Iran);
- Canada’s continued refusal to redress the torture and ill-treatment of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou Elmaati, Muayyed Nureddin, and Omar Khadr;
- Canada’s failure to modify the Ministerial Direction to CSIS that permits intelligence information that may have been derived from torture or ill-treatment to be used within Canada;
- Canada’s inaction to address the high rates of violence, including murder, against Indigenous women and girls;
- Excessive use of police force during protests, in particular at Tyendinaga and the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto; and
- Failure to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
Amnesty International welcomed the Committee’s Concluding Observations. However, deeply concerned that Canada was not making progress in implementing the Committee’s recommendations, we submitted a follow-up brief in 2013 identifying ongoing areas of concern. The brief highlighted issues that the Committee had asked Canada to report on within one year of the May 2012 review.
In particular, Amnesty International emphasized Canada’s lack of progress in implementing the Committee’s recommendations in paragraphs 12, 13, 16, and 17 of the Concluding Observations which concerned Canada’s use of security certificates and Special Advocate regime; mandatory detention and denial of appeal rights in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; failure to redress the torture and ill-treatment of Canadian citizens abroad that Canadian officials were complicit it; the use and sharing of information likely extracted through torture permitted in the Ministerial Direction to CSIS; and Canada’s failure to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
LIST OF ISSUES
Amnesty International’s Submission of List of Issues Prior to the Consideration of Canada at the 48th Session
List of Issues adopted by the Committee against Torture (CAT/C/CAN/Q/6)
REVIEW OF CANADA’S SIXTH PERIODIC REPORT TO THE UN COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
Amnesty International’s Briefing to the UN Committee Against Torture (May 2012)
Concluding Observations of the Committee against Torture (CAT/C/CAN/CO/6)
Amnesty International’s Follow-up Procedure to the Forty-Eighth Session of the Committee against Torture (May 2013)
“Canada must do more to stop torture” (6 June 2012)