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No place for war criminals in Canada, says Harper

August 01, 2011 19:43 IST

Several refugee organisations and others are concerned that the 30 people, including eight South Asians, wanted by the Canadian Border Service Agency for committing 'war crimes' and crimes against humanity, will be tortured, even killed, if deported.

At a media roundtable on July 27, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper conceded 'there could be adverse consequences' if these people are deported to their country of origin.

"First of all, we don't deport people if they face risk of torture or any of those things. That's contrary to our policy," he told India Abroad. "They will be deported to places where we are assured of proper treatment under the law."

Asked if this and the decision to take away the citizenship of 1,800 new Canadians were indicative of a larger crackdown, he said, "I don't think they are indicative of any broader thing. These are two issues that probably should have been tackled by the governments before. In the case of the 1,800, these are the people who have obtained citizenship fraudulently."

He added that the decision to revoke the citizenship was "an extension" of the recent legislation passed by the government "against fraudulent (immigration) consultants."

Harper believes the government has "the overwhelming support of Canadians of all backgrounds" on both issues. "I think everybody agrees, whether new immigrants or native Canadians, that Canada is no place for those who are engaged in violence, who are war criminals," he said.

Ajit Jain in Toronto