Should Canada apologise to Saudi Arabia for Spat over Human Rights Violation and interfering with their domestic affairs? Canada cannot behave like the champion of Human Rights and also ignore the plight of Nepali Gorkha Soldiers who served them in Afghanistan. Read Special Editorial by EurAsian Times with inputs from the New York Times
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Fifteen Gurkha soldiers from Nepal and India lost their lives in one of the deadliest attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan two years ago. Man Bahadur Thapa is one one of them who survived the attack but was so badly mutilated that doctors could not initially identify him.
Thapa cannot sleep due to the pricking pain from the shrapnel lodged in his body that keeps him awake. Thapa, unable to walk, drags himself out of bed and crawls forward on his elbows. Death would be a respite,” he said.
His thoughts often take him into the flashback when a Taliban bomber blew himself up in the morning near an unarmoured minibus two years ago in the Afghan capital. It was carrying Thapa and other South Asian security contractors to the Canadian embassy.
Five survivors of the June 2016 bombing left them permanently disabled. They said that they heard almost nothing from Canadian officials and that representatives from Sabre International, a private security firm contracted to manage the security workers.
While they underwent painful, expensive treatment for broken bones and head injuries, the men learned their insurance benefits from Sabre had been cut from a cap of $300,000 to $30,000. The guards said they found out only after the bombing.
In June, dozens of survivors and relatives of the dead Gurkha soldiers filed a lawsuit against the Canadian government and Sabre. They seek millions of dollars in insurance benefits outlined in the original employment contracts, and recognition that newer policies, apparently valid at the time of the bombing. The lawsuit alleges that placing them in a category with fewer benefits breaches Canadian laws against employment discrimination.
The astonishing part is that Canada has been acting like a Champion of Human Rights but has been ignoring the people that have been protecting them despite all odds. It’s time Ontario must apologize to Riyadh for interfering in their domestic affairs, and magnanimously compensate the South Asian security staff.