You are no doubt hearing and reading about the new Afghan detainee transfer agreement struck between Canada and Afghanistan.
The deal was announced yesterday, only minutes before the federal court was to consider issuing an injunction against any further handover of prisoners taken by Canadian troops to Afghan authorities.
The good news is that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has had to concede that there is a problem with the military mission.
It has taken two weeks and thousands of letters of protest, many of them from Ceasefire.ca supporters like you, to make Harper think twice about what he is doing.
The bad news is that this new Afghan deal will not solve the problem.
This morning I consulted Prof. Michael Byers, Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia.
He told me that under international law, given the many specific allegations of abuse reported by the Globe and Mail and CBC, the government must not transfer any more detainees. Transfers should not resume until it is certain that the Afghan authorities will behave themselves – even under this new, improved arrangement.
Prof. Byers’ assessment was echoed by Alex Neve of Amnesty International, who pointed out that this new deal will not prevent torture, and the transfer of detainees must stop.
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