Sunday, November 28, 2010

CBC: Canada's handling of Afghan child detainees queried

Not only is it being queried, if true, its positively disturbing:
The Canadian Forces have for years arrested children suspected of working with the Taliban and handed them over to an Afghan security unit accused of torture, CBC News has learned.

... A document obtained by the CBC's investigative unit shows that Canadian soldiers captured children as well in the fight against the Taliban, and that many of them were transferred to the custody of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, or NDS.
Something like this is positively disgusting. Children, suspected of "collaborating" or not, shouldn't be ferried off to people that are accused, with good evidence, of torturing suspects, including juveniles.

The thing that really gets me is that MacKay and the DND have known the entire time about this, and that the media would jump on the story the first chance they get. Indeed, the day that CBC received its access to information request over the documents, and this briefing note that they posted on their website, which I highly recommend you read, the DND decided to put it out on their website, in order to head off the suspect deluge of calls to release the information outright, saving their collective asses some pain.

Mind you, the entire situation for juveniles suspected of collaboration or simply being related to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan is not good anyways. The main facilities where these juveniles go, called Juvenile Rehabilitation Centres, which are run by the Afghanistan Ministry of Justice, are poorly funded, do not meet the standards for health, educational, and even basic necessities are lacking. They end up acting more as prisons than anything near "rehabilitation," like they're meant to. It's well documented here, in this Swiss NGO's report, dated January of this year. Does anyone else expect things to have changed in that time span?

This of course relates to those children that actually end up in the JRCs. There have been cases that simply fall through the NDS's many cracks, never to be seen again, and some suspect intentionally. That is more than a little worrying, and this is a practice that goes on right now.

There is something very, very wrong here. I don't care under which government this started, continued, or intensified, Parliament must look into the DND's actions on this. It's disturbing to think that Canada's government could ever, ever be complicit in the abuse or torture of children.

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