B.C. Civil Liberties Association report slams U.N. terrorist blacklist

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      A new report from the B.C. Civil Liberties Association criticizes a controversial terrorist blacklist supported by Canada that targets individuals believed to have links to al Qaeda or the Taliban.

      Those on the list, which emerged as part of a sanction system established by the United Nations Security Council in 1999, face restrictions on their finances and ability to travel internationally.

      According to the 68-page BCCLA report released today (October 28), the implementation of the regime in Canada raises “serious constitutional difficulties”. It claims there is little protection of due process for those on the list, noting there is no requirement to disclose the reasons why individuals are named and that judicial review of the decisions cannot be sought.

      “As it is currently administered by the United Nations and implemented by Canada, the 1267 Regime fails to comport with basic principles of procedural fairness and due process—principles by which Canada must abide, either as an international legal obligation or as a constitutional obligation,” says the report, authored by BCCLA counsel Carmen Cheung.

      The report highlights previously suggested reforms, including increased transparency surrounding decisions about how individuals are placed on the list and what information should be released to the public.

      It asserts that the U.N. Security Council must make decisions in line with established human rights frameworks so member states such as Canada are not forced to choose between either supporting the council resolutions or adhering to their own principles.

      The BCCLA report also encourages U.N. member states to follow the direction of the security council “only in a manner consistent with” their commitments to national and international human rights standards.

      “In order to maintain its own authority, the security council needs to take steps to bring the 1267 Regime into conformity with fundamental principles of justice and fairness,” reads the report, which is to be officially unveiled today during an event at the University of B.C. law school.

      The U.N. terrorism regulations are also at the centre of a legal challenge launched by the BCCLA, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, and Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Sudan-born Canadian citizen who is named on the list but has been cleared of criminal activity by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP.

      In the lawsuit filed in federal court, the applicants seek to have the regulations quashed on the grounds they violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Bill of Rights.