Sunday, December 02, 2007


We're Not Safe

And I'm not saying that our national security is a precarious state (after all, the Bush administration blares that particular message day in, day out). No, what I mean is, we're not safe for others.

The United States is not a safe country for refugees, the Federal Court said Thursday as it ruled that Canada will no longer have the right to turn back asylum seekers at the border.

In the surprise judgment, the court found that Safe Third Country Agreement breaches the rights of asylum seekers under the United Nation Refugee Convention or the Convention Against Torture.


Citing the example of Maher Arar, Justice Michael Phelan also noted that the U.S. has not been compliant with the Refugee Convention or CAT (Convention Against Torture).

"... The United States' policies and practices do not meet the conditions set down for authorizing Canada to enter into a STCA," Phelan wrote in his 126-page decision.

"The U.S. does not meet the Refugee Convention requirements nor the [UN] Convention Against Torture prohibition (the Maher Arar case being one example). Further, the STCA does not comply with the relevant provisions of the Charter."

Arar was the Canadian who was stopped by U.S. officials in 2002 at a New York airport and sent to the Middle East to be interrogated as an alleged al Qaeda suspect.

Does anyone remember that little piece of doggerel we wrote on the Statue of Liberty? I wonder if Mr. Bush does?

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