Deal or No Deal -­ Stop the Transfer of Detainees

May 4, 2007 at 4:48 pm 4 comments

May 4, 2007 Dear supporter,

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 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.

That’s why I am urging you to keep up the pressure, and to send your letter to Prime Minister Harper urging him to stop the transfer of detainees immediately.



Steven StaplesFounder of Ceasefire.caP.S. Here is a YouTube link to a video  of the Rideau Institute’s press conference with professor Michael Byers. You can learn more by visiting the blog at was formerly a project of the Polaris Institute. For more information, click here.Rideau InstituteAttn. Mohamed Hamdan, Administrative Assistantoperations@rideauinstitute.ca30 Metcalfe Street, Suite 500 Ottawa ON K1P 5L4 CanadaTel. 613 565-4994 Fax 613 237-3359www.rideauinstitute.caIf you received this newsletter through a friend, please consider becoming a subscriber.The Rideau Institute is a public interest research organization federally incorporated as a not-for-profit organization with Industry Canada under the Canada Corporations Act. Unfortunately, donations to the Rideau Institute are not tax deductible.

Entry filed under: Newsletters.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joe Bonnevie  |  May 4, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    I recently spoke my opinions on CBC Maritime noon, with Professor Byers and he responded to my comments with honesty. I wish to thank Professor Byers for his contribution to that Maritime Noon broadcast and his support to my comments. As an ex military who served in the Middle East in 1966 and has been interested in events concerning that area and Canada’s International role there, especially in Palestine and Afghanistan I am deeply concerned about the direction the Government of Canada is taking. We went from Peace Keeping to now taking actions under the direction of the United States under the umbrella of Nato. I am deeply concerned about how the Governmet has and continues to put Canada in unfavourable status in the world. Every canadian must communicate their concerns to the MP and members of the present Government reagarding the horrid actions of the Government. Even if you MP ignores your efforts keep up the fight for Peace. (former UNEF Peace Keeper) who is concerned about our troops in Afghanistan. JOE BONNEVIE MONCTON

  • 2. fern Walker  |  May 4, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    I agree completely with your comments.

  • 3. Evelyn Foster  |  May 5, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    I agree that prisoners should not be turned over to the afghans until their safety is assured. Better still is we stop taking prisoners and get out of there.

  • 4. Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior  |  May 6, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    We are morally and legally responsible for the prisoners of war we capture. To assume that the Afghan government can (they have few resources, no oversight, no tradition of human rights) and will treat Canadian prisoners as we must, is naive.


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