- Good Morning from the Zundelsite:
- Those of you who were on my Zgram list in the early
days after the Zundel arrest know that one of our first steps was to contact
Amnesty International offices in Canada specifically, and internationally
in general, and ask for intervention. They must have received fistfuls
of faxes. You will remember the nasty hostility we encountered and their
initial statement that they were not prepared to lift one little finger
to even look into the Zundel situation. They are nothing but a Zionist
front, as are so many of those outfits parading on Main Street, America
with their fig leaf called Human Rights. To find out what Ernst Zundel
thinks of them, take a look at http://www.zundelsite.org/gallery/donations/index.html
and scroll down to the second sketch.
- As far as I know, there have been two official documents
outlining the Amnesty International position about Ernst. I don't have
these documents at my fingertips right now, and I don't have the time
to look. I remember the first statement being out-and-out Zionist-flavored,
really disgusting and insulting, and the second one being a bit more carefully
crafted - but still, in essence, saying NYET.
- Now they have come out with a third. They don't mention
Ernst, but from what I have read in the Canadian papers - that there are
five people held in Canada in maximum detention on a security certificate
- those five did not include the name of Ernst Zundel. In the Open Letter
below, they say there are six. Unless the CSIS goons have nabbed themselves
another victim, that means that Amnesty International is weakening and
now includes Ernst Zundel. In this Open letter, they still do a St. Vitus
Dance around the Western world's best known thought criminal, but indirectly
they seem to be referring to Ernst as a specific case to be included. Later
in the day, if I have time, I will fax them and ask them. I am not holding
my breath that I will receive a reply.
- Here is the latest. Take note how they still talk out
of both sides of their mouths, the hypocrites:
- OPEN LETTER FROM AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CANADA TO ANNE
MCLELLAN ABOUT SECURITY CERTIFICATES
- The Honourable Anne McLellan,
- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety
and Emergency Preparedness
- 340 Laurier Avenue West
- Ottawa, Ontario
- K1A 0P8
- By fax: 990-9077
- March 31, 2004
- Dear Deputy Prime Minister McLellan,
- We are writing this open letter to you to underscore
Amnesty International's serious concerns with respect to the security certificate
provisions that have been part of Canada's immigration legislation for
a number of years.
- Over the past several years Amnesty International has,
on numerous occasions, written to the Canadian government, highlighting
individual cases in which we considered that the security certificate process
was resulting in violations of a number of fundamental human rights. We
are aware of at least six individuals who are currently being held pursuant
to security certificates. These individuals have been in detention for
an extended period now, close to four years in one case.
- We repeat Amnesty International's concerns below and
urge that you take immediate steps to reform the security certificate process
to bring it into full compliance with Canada's international human rights
obligations. In doing so we remind the government that the Immigration
and Refugee Protection Act itself, in s. 3(3)(f), requires that the law
be "construed and applied in a manner that complies with international
human rights instruments to which Canada is a signatory."
- Unfair Proceedings
- Amnesty International is of the view that the security
certificate process may very well result in arbitrary detention and thus
violate the fundamental right to liberty. The process does not conform
to a number of essential international legal standards, which are meant
to safeguard against the very possibility of arbitrary detention. Detainees
are not informed of the precise allegations against them. They see only
a summary of the evidence that is being used against them. Evidence may
be presented in court in the absence of the detainee or his or her counsel.
The detainee is not afforded a right to examine any and all witnesses who
have been the source of that evidence. Furthermore, the Federal Court considers
only the "reasonableness" of the decision to issue a security
certificate and does not substantively review it.
- Amnesty International recognizes that special measures
may need to be taken in cases involving security matters, but any such
measures must be consistent with international law. We realize, for example,
that the government may have concerns about protecting the identity of
certain sources or witnesses. If so, specific and targeted measures should
be taken to address those particular concerns, rather than through the
widesweeping approach of the current legislation. In any case, in view
of the potential for a wide interpretation by the detaining authorities
of security information which may be the basis for a decision to detain,
and because decisions to detain in such cases are often based on a prediction
about an individual's future actions, it is imperative that there be full
and effective judicial scrutiny of such decisions, beyond the test of "reasonableness"
that is the present standard.
- Amnesty International has repeatedly drawn attention,
worldwide, to instances where the failure to comply with international
human rights standards regarding fair trials has led to wrongful detention
and other human rights violations. In the present circumstances Amnesty
International considers that individuals detained pursuant to a security
certificate are effectively denied their right to prepare a defence and
mount a meaningful challenge to the lawfulness of their detention. This
is in contravention of Canada's obligations under articles 9 and 14 of
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
- While some of the provisions in articles 9 and 14 apply
specifically to individuals who have been formally charged with a criminal
offence, which is not the case in the issuance of a security certificate,
they are nevertheless widely recognized as reflecting general principles
of law and are relevant in so far as they set out the basic essential elements
of a fair hearing. Furthermore some of the provisions apply to all detainees,
such as those guaranteeing the right to challenge the lawfulness of their
detention. That right to challenge must be in accord with recognized international
fair trial standards.
- Other international standards highlight the importance
of ensuring that all detainees enjoy the same level of fairness. The UN
Body of Principles for the Protection of all Persons under any Form of
Detention or Imprisonment, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1988 establish
that anyone who is detained shall be given an "effective opportunity"
to be heard by a judicial or other authority, has the right to defend him
or herself, and shall received "prompt and full communication"
of any order of detention "together with the reasons therefore."
The Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, adopted in 1990, underscore
that lawyers must be given access to "appropriate information, files
and documents" so that they can provide their clients with "effective
legal assistance." Amnesty International considers that these standards
require that the detainee be given detailed reasons as to why he or she
is detained, access to the full evidence that is being used against them,
and a substantive hearing to examine the lawfulness of the detention.
- On the basis of these concerns Amnesty International
has repeatedly urged the Canadian government to reform the security certificate
process so as to bring it into line with Canada's international human rights
obligations, including by ensuring a substantive review of the reasons
for detention and by making all evidence available to the individual detained
so that any potentially unfounded allegations can be effectively and meaningfully
- Protection against Refoulement
- Amnesty International is doubly concerned about the
fundamentally flawed and unfair security certificate process because it
is frequently applied in cases where the likely outcome is deportation
to a country where the individual concerned is at serious risk of torture
or other grave human rights violations. Given such potentially severe consequences,
it is all the more critical that the security certificate process fully
comply with international human rights standards governing arrest and detention.
- International law is absolute, no one should be deported
to a country "where there are substantial grounds for believing that
he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture." The United
Nations Committee against Torture, in 2000, informed Canada that it is
a violation of the UN Convention against Torture to deport an individual
to face a substantial risk of torture, including when there are security
concerns. In 2002 the Supreme Court of Canada, in the Suresh case, recognized
that international law provides absolute protection against being returned
to torture, but left open a possibility that such returns might be allowed
under the Canadian Charter of Rights, in extraordinary circumstances which
the Court did not define.
- There is a mechanism in Canadian law which requires
an assessment to be carried out by an immigration officer prior to deportation
to determine whether an individual does face a substantial risk of torture.
However, if a security certificate has been issued and found to be "reasonable"
by a judge, that possibility is no longer available to the individual concerned.
Both before and since the Suresh ruling Amnesty International has urged
the Canadian government to amend Canadian law so as to clearly prohibit
any individual being returned to country where there is a substantial risk
- Amnesty International is very much aware that the government
alleges that individuals detained pursuant to security certificates constitute
a danger to the security of Canada. However, Amnesty International urges
Canada to adopt a response to security concerns that does not result in
violations of such fundamental human rights as the protections against
arbitrary detention and torture. Canada's response should instead focus
on bringing individuals to justice in criminal proceedings that meet international
fair trial standards. That is the best means of ensuring both that both
justice and security will prevail.
- Alex Neve Michel Frenette
- Secretary General Directeur
- Amnesty International Canada Amnistie Internationale
- Help free Ernst Zundel, Prisoner of Conscience. His
prison sketches - now on-line and highly popular - help pay for his defense.
Take a look - and tell a friend.