Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Canada's human rights policies slammed

Amnesty International's worldwide leader, Salil Shetty

Source: Press TV

The head of a major international rights group has censured Canada's human rights policies for its deliberate refusal to question Israeli human rights violations.

“The world has always seen Canada as a human rights champion, but it is increasingly ending up on the wrong side of important human rights debates,” Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty said during a March 31 press conference.

Shetty went on to say that Canada's longstanding reputation as a worldwide human rights champion has diminished in recent years and that the country now functions as “part of the problem, rather than the solution,” Embassy news agency reported.

According to a report released by the Amnesty International, the “unflinching refusal” of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government to criticize Israel's human rights record has placed the country's reputation on such matters into question.

Canada has limited its support and financial aid to pro-Palestine organizations and avoiding the delivery of any form of criticism regarding Israel.

The report also pointed out that Canada's recent “hesitation and reluctance with respect to Egypt almost certainly reflected the Israeli government's preference that President Mubarak remain in power and minimize the chances that a new Egyptian government might abrogate the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.”

Both Shetty and head of Amnesty International Canada Alex Neve have blamed past and recent Liberal governments in Canada for jeopardizing the country's human rights record. Shetty had also criticized the country's Conservative governments on their human rights policies.

Last August, Salil Shetty also reiterated the Amnesty International's growing concerns over Canada's violation of human rights to the CIVICUS World Assembly.

Shetty pressed Canada to seek the repatriation of a Canadian detainee, Omar Khadr, at notorious US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Shetty slammed his court trial held last year as being unjust and his detention as being unlawful.

The 24-year-old, who spent nine years at the prison, was accused of killing a US soldier during fighting in Afghanistan back in 2002.

Khadr stated that during his detention he was beaten, subjected to long periods in solitary confinement, doused in freezing water, spat on, chained in painful positions, and subjected to sleep deprivation and threats of rape.

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