U.S.| UN calls on U.S. to “stop secret detention and abuse” ahead of report to Human Rights Council

posted on 01.28.2010 by

The United Nations has called on the U.S. and others to put an end to secret detention policies and human rights abuses in their “war on terrorism”, IDN reports.

From IDN: It has failed, however, to demand the immediate closure of two major U.S. “public” detention centres — Guantanamo and Bagram, where human rights have been systematically violated, reaching the threshold of ‘crimes against humanity’.

“Despite the fact that international law clearly prohibits secret detention, the practice is widespread and ‘reinvigorated’ by the so-called global war on terror,” said UN independent experts.

In a 222-page study, to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March, the UN experts conclude, “secret detention is irreconcilably in violation of international human rights law including during states of emergency and armed conflict.”

Though the study does not explicitly mention specific countries, it is clearly referring to the U.S. and its allies, mainly Western powers, which carried out and/or participated in this kind of prohibited practices.


“Likewise, it is in violation of international humanitarian law during any form of armed conflict.”

The study, elaborated by UN experts on counter-terrorism and torture, and the two UN expert bodies on arbitrary detention and enforced or involuntary disappearances, was announced on Jan 22.

In it, the UN experts alert, “If resorted to in a widespread or systematic manner, secret detention might reach the threshold of a crime against humanity.”


Though focussed on the secret detention centres, this last sentence (crime against humanity) describes properly the situation in the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detainment facility, located in Cuba.

This detention camp has been operated by Joint Task Force Guantanamo of the U.S. administration since 2002 on its Naval Base.

The detainment areas consist of three camps: Camp Delta (which includes Camp Echo), Camp Iguana, and Camp X-Ray, the last of which has been closed.

After the U.S. Justice Department advised that the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp could be considered outside U.S. legal jurisdiction, prisoners captured in Afghanistan were moved there beginning of 2002.

The administration of previous White House occupant asserted that detainees were not entitled to any of the protections of the Geneva Conventions.

Therefore, the widely denounced detentions without charges and practices of torture against detainees have escaped all international human and legal laws and conventions.

Since October 7, 2001, when the current war on Afghanistan began, 775 detainees have been brought to Guantanamo. Of these, some 420 have been released without charge. In January 2009, around 245 detainees remained. This number further decreased to 215 by November 2009.

During his electoral campaign, President Barack Obama announced he would close Guantanamo detention camp by June 2009.

All that the current White House chief has done so far is to issue a Presidential Memorandum on December15, 2009 ordering the preparation of the Thomson Correctional Center, Thomson, Illinois so as to enable the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners there. [...]

More here.


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