Thursday, May 03, 2007

Amnesty - "Protection against torture applies to everyone"

Stephen Harper said that falsehoods are cooked up by Taliban detainees, as they are trained to lie. However,

In Afghanistan, there are generally two types of insurgents: hardline Taliban, who are true believers or members of the former regime; and others who are either hired guns or coerced into fighting.

In many cases, so-called soft Taliban are no more than ordinary farmers who've been forced at gunpoint into fighting, or they're men whipped into a religious fever by claims of outrage against Islam.

The less-committed fighters make up the bulk of the insurgent force, which has confronted Canadian troops in the vast swath of parched farmland west of Kandahar. Poorly trained and badly equipped, these young men of what the Afghans call "fighting age" do most of the dying for the Taliban. Those that survive are often taken prisoner.

Canadian commanders in Kandahar have gone to great lengths to drive wedges between the different types of fighters, enticing soft supporters to lay down their arms with promises funded by the Conservative government's reconstruction efforts

According to human rights organizations, people are entitled to the same human rights protection regardless of what group in which they may or may not have membership.

The government seems to suggest captured insurgents don't deserve full human-rights protection, said an Amnesty International spokesman.

"No one is exempted from the protection against torture because of what armed groups they have or have not been involved with," said Alex Neve.

"The protection against torture applies to everyone at all times and in all circumstances.

"When we start espousing views that suggest maybe torture is OK in some circumstances, or we shouldn't at least be concerned about torture when it happens to undesirable people, then we're eroding international human rights," he said.

"And we're simply espousing a view that it's all right to respond to violence with more violence, terror with more terror, torture with more torture."