It is generally accepted that the life of an average fifteen-year-old Canadian boy revolves around his friends, sports teams, video games and perhaps even school. Nowadays teenage boys have little worries such as handing in an assignment on time or waiting in line for hours outside of a big electronics store to get their hands on the release of the latest video game. Omar Khadr, a 15 year old Canadian boy also shared the same interests. Just like every other teenage boy, he loved basketball and video games. However, unlike other children Omar Khadr’s life suddenly changed when he was taken to Afghanistan by his jihadist father, who forcefully tossed his little child in the kiln of the battle and forced his son to become a translator for the Al-Qaida group, which is a known terrorist organization. Victimized by the hands of his own father, Omar Khadr undoubtedly became a child soldier. In 2002, during a firefight in Afghanistan Omar Khadr was captured and imprisoned by the US military officials for allegedly killing an American soldier. This incident changed his life forever. The harsh reality is that Omar Khadr; a fifteen year old Canadian citizen was incarcerated, beaten and tortured for over a decade. As Canadian individuals we would assume that the Canadian government must have taken some steps to fight for his rights as a child soldier and must have demanded for his return. However, the Canadian government simply turned its back against him and left Omar Khadr; an innocent child to fight his battles alone. After a decade of shame the Canadian government needs to set a precedent and stand up for justice. First of all, the Canadian government needs to realize that it has failed to protect the fundamental rights of its own citizen. Next, the government needs to owe up to its failures and pay damages to Omar Khadr while fulfilling its obligations to rehabilitate him back into society. Finally, the government also needs to introduce new legislation, incorporating the rights of child soldiers into Canadian and international law. Canada needs to stand up for justice. How much longer will our government sit back and do nothing?
To begin with, the Canadian legal system has failed to bring justice. Omar Khadr was captured by the US military forces after a firefight in Afghanistan during which he was severely wounded. He was accused of allegedly killing an American soldier and was detained at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, before his transfer to Guantanamo Bay detention camp, which is a detainment and interrogation facility of the United States military located in Cuba. Prior to his interrogations, Omar Khadr was subjected to torture and various types of mistreatment, including systematic sleep deprivation. He was also forced into painful stress positions, threatened with rape, hooded, and confronted with barking dogs. What’s more shocking is the fact that US government witnesses confirmed some of this treatment during pre-trial hearings, testifying that Khadr was tortured through sleep deprivation and was interrogated while strapped down on a stretcher just 12 hours after sustaining his life-threatening injuries and threatened with rape if he did not cooperate. Is this the type of treatment a child soldier deserves to receive under the custody of the great US, which is supposedly one of the world’s most civilized nations? Unfortunately, the US is not the only one to blame when it comes to denying the rights of Omar Khadr. The ugly truth is that Omar Khadr’s home country refused to take immediate actions for him and became blind towards the obligations to protect him. On the contrary, the Canadian government is known as one of the world’s leading nations when it comes to protecting the fundamental rights and freedom of its citizens. Predominantly the Canadian government is very passionate in protecting the rights of children. These rights are protected in the constitution under the Canadian Charter of Rights and...
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