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Omar Khadr Court Ruling: Lost Opportunity to Address Continuing Human Rights Concerns

    October 18, 2013

    In response to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta decision in Omar Khadr’s case on 18 October 2013, Amnesty International Canada (English Branch) Secretary General Alex Neve noted the following:

     Amnesty International has, for years, pressed US authorities and Canadian authorities to recognize Omar Khadr’s status as a child soldier and to ensure that he is treated according to international legal standards meant to protect and rehabilitate child soldiers.  The organization has been deeply disappointed that no steps have been taken by Canadian corrections officials to do so, despite the fact that Omar Khadr has now been in custody in Canada for over one year at two different institutions.  Granting this court application could have been a significant step towards righting those wrongs.  Amnesty International continues to remind the Canadian government of its obligations under international human rights standards dealing with child soldiers and calls on authorities to take immediate steps to ensure that he is treated in full conformity with those important obligations.

    It remains the case that justice has not been served in Omar Khadr’s case and his rights continue to be ignored and violated.  It is very noteworthy that the judgement itself begins by highlighting the many issues and concerns about Omar Khadr’s case that are not part of the ruling, including his lengthy period of detention at Guantánamo Bay before he was sentenced, his age at the time of the offences that are the basis of his conviction and sentence, and whether he should more appropriately be housed in a federal or provincial corrections institution.  All of those issues involve important human rights questions and remain unaddressed.  That cannot continue.  In January 2010 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Omar Khadr’s Charter rights have been violated and that there must be a remedy for those violations.  It is long past time to do so.

    For more information please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332