The Right Honorable Stephen Joseph HarperPrime Minister of CanadaOffice of the Prime MinisterLangevin Block, 80 Wellington StreetOttawa, ON K1A 0A2
Re: Criminalization of non-state torture in Canada
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada wish to bring to your attention the following: non-state actor torture is torture that is committed in the private sphere by such persons as parent(s), other family members, guardian(s), spouse, human trafficker(s)/ exploiter(s) and/or other like-minded person(s); that nonstate actor torture that happens in the private sphere occurs in Canada; that Canada is a Signatory to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture has stated that States have a responsibility to prevent torture from occurring in the private sphere and “have obligations to take legislative measures and implement them” (International Service for Human Rights. (2008, March 11). Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Internationally the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture describes torture as:
1. One of the worst human rights violations,2. The intentional and purposeful intensity of the pain and suffering inflicted specifically distinguishes torture from other forms of violence,3. Trivialization contributes to its widespread practice,4. The right to be publically heard, acknowledges torture victimization, is an important step in healing and helps create a socially just community,5. Silencing causes social exclusion, denying victimized persons the right to complain, to seek social/legal justice and access to specific diagnostic, care and rehabilitation services,6. When domestic criminal law misnames torture as another crime, for example bodily injuries, the specific gravity of the physical and psychological destruction is not adequately addressed, causing further victimization,7. Inadequate punishment creates a culture of impunity, fostering its continuation, and8. The specific criminalization of distinct crimes is a preventive measure in global use.
In closing we request the Government of Canada bring forth legislation to amend the Canadian Criminal Code to make non-state actor torture a crime.