The CCLA is very concerned about Nathalie Morin, and her three minor children, all Canadian citizens currently in Saudi Arabia. Ms. Morin has not been heard from since June 13th, 2011, according to her Quebec-based mother Johanne Durocher. There have been serious allegations of domestic violence in this case.
Domestic violence is not a “private matter” excusing State inaction. To the contrary, domestic violence requires States to intervene and protect victims, pursuant to international law. In international law, there is a peremptory legal norm that absolutely prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. By definition, a peremptory legal norm is binding upon Canada and Saudi Arabia, and trumps any conflicting customary or treaty law obligations. Furthermore, Canada and Saudi Arabia are both parties to the UN Convention Against Torture, the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, all of which together impose legal obligations upon States to protect women and children from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, even when perpetrated by private actors.
The CCLA has written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable John Baird, urging the immediate assistance of the Canadian government for Nathalie Morin and her three children, to move them to safety, provide medical assistance, and to facilitate their earliest return to Canada. To read CCLA’s letter of August 16th, 2011, click here Aug_16_2011_CCLA-MFA-N.Morin