O'Connor to meet with Afghan rights group on detainees

Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor is in Kandahar to visit troops and meet with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Defence Minister Gordon O'Connorarrived in Kandahar on Sunday to visit Canadian troops and meet with officials of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

The minister'sunannouncedvisit to southern Afghanistan comes less than two weeks afterCanada signed a deal with thecommission, assigning the group to monitor what happenstodetainees captured by Canadians.

O'Connor has been under fire over Canada's policy regarding the handover of suspected Taliban detainees to the Afghan government.

He initially said that the International Committee of the Red Cross monitored the treatment of such detainees. But the ICRC told the Globe and Maillast week that thatwasn't the case.

Responding to that story Thursday, O'Connor clarifiedthat the ICRC has carried out several visits to detainees in temporary Canadian custody in Kandahar.

Underanew agreement,Canada mustnotify both the ICRCand the office of the human rights commission in Kandahar about the handling of detainees.

O'Connor said he will meet with members of the commission to ensure it will report back to the Canadian government any details of detainee abuse.

With files from the Canadian Press