Undemocratic process violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a long list of international conventions.
Ottawa (21 Jan. 2011) - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has signed a national statement demanding that the Harper government abolish security certificates and secret trials in Canada.
NUPGE president James Clancy signed the declaration on behalf of the union's 340,000 members across Canada, adding the union's voice to a growing list of individuals and organizations speaking out on the issue. The list includes MPs, authors and activists.
"We, the undersigned, have grave concerns regarding the continued use of sections 9, 76-87 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which allow for the imprisonment in Canada of refugees and permanent residents under the authority of a Security Certificate," the petition says.
It argues that the "new version" of the measure makes only cosmetic changes and the law continues to maintain a veil of secrecy over any information that may be used against the detained.
The statement expresses concern that those detained under security certificates are or can be:
- Imprisoned indefinitely on secret evidence, though no charges have been laid against them.
- Tried in unfair judicial proceedings where information is not disclosed to their lawyer.
- Denied the full right to appeal when the certificate is upheld in a process that uses the lowest standard of proof of any court in Canada.
- Face unfair imprisonment, torture or death through the threat of deportation.
"We believe that the existing Security Certificate process is undemocratic, violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and violates fundamental human rights to which the government of Canada has committed itself through the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention on Torture," the statement says.
"Accordingly, we demand that the Security Certificate process be abolished."
For those currently detained under security certificates, the signatories demand:
- That their certificates be removed and if any case against them actually exists, that they be allowed to defend themselves in open, fair and independent trials with full disclosure of the case against them.
- That they not be deported.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE