Monday, November 29, 2010

Harper Government Complicit in Rape and Torture of Afghan Children

Will WikiLeaks, Detainee documents and the accounting of Canadian soldiers, blow a hole in the Harper Afghan story? The one he has been writing, painting himself as a strong leader, standing strong against a formidable foe?

Maybe this is the story we should be listening to:

Canada's handling of young Afghan detainees queried

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. Allegations that militants captured by Canada were transferred to Afghan forces and later tortured were hotly debated in Parliament last fall.

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. The document, obtained under an Access to Information request and marked "secret," shows that Defence Minister Peter MacKay was briefed on the topic of juvenile detainees in Afghanistan March 30. The "Canadian eyes only" note informs MacKay of how many children suspected of "participating in the insurgency" have been arrested by Canadian Forces and how many of them have been transferred into Afghan custody in the previous four years.

The note also shows that an undisclosed number of juvenile detainees were being kept in a Canadian transfer facility at Kandahar Air Field for "a significant period."
The numbers in all cases, however, were blacked out.

Or this: Canadian troops handed over child detainees to Afghan security, CBC reports

Or the most disturbing story of them all:
Every day, Travis Schouten lives with the image of the rape of an Afghan boy at a Canadian Forces base. Witnessing two men, one armed with a knife, sodomize the child during an incident in late 2006 helped drive the 26-year-old to the brink of mental collapse. But the former corporal said the assault is just the tip of an iceberg and underneath lies the systemic sexual abuse of boys at the hands of Afghanistan’s police and army. It’s something he said the Canadian Forces has turned a blind eye to.

“It’s disgusting,” said Schouten, now retired after eight years in the military. “We’re telling people that we’re trying to build a nation there and we let this happen?” “We allow rampant abuse of young boys at the hands of what is supposed to be their finest police officers and army officers, then what does that say?”
And before you dismiss this as collateral damage, please watch the following video. These children just want the same things our children want. An education. A chance to play. And most importantly a chance to grow up.

It's time to rethink Afghanistan. Say NO to three more years.

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