Monday, March 12, 2007

Layton gets on o'connor over human rights in afghanistan

Layton wants human rights monitors for Afghan prisoners
March 12, 2007

NDP Leader Jack Layton wants human rights monitors to oversee and report on the condition of prisoners that Canadian soldiers hand over to Afghan authorities.

Monday in Montreal, Layton called on Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor to immediately ask for professional human rights monitors. Layton says the Conservative government has weakened Canada's long-standing position against the use of torture with its "no questions asked" policy of handing Taliban detainees over to Afghan security forces.

The NDP leader also says that unlike Britain and the Netherlands, the Canadian government makes no effort to check on the condition of detainees once they are handed over.

Layton says Canada has a legal and moral obligation to ensure that its actions do not lead to torture.

He adds the federal government should have learned that after the public inquiry into Maher Arar's torture in Syria.