World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Largest gathering of former Guantánamo prisoners

Largest-ever gathering of former Guantánamo prisoners and prisoners’ families: US government must give independent UN experts full access to Guantánamo

Joint Statement by Amnesty International and Reprieve

Amnesty International and Reprieve today called on the US government to stop blocking meaningful United Nations access to its Guantánamo detention centre and agree to access to all prisoners. The organizations were responding to the passing of a midnight deadline for the US government to agree to terms for a visit to Guantánamo by five independent experts of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Amnesty International and Reprieve made the call as they announced the largest ever gathering of former "war on terror" prisoners and their families to highlight an increasingly globalized network of torture and ill-treatment. The three-day conference in London, this Saturday through Monday, also brings together international legal and medical experts and leading human rights campaigners to inform and encourage action against torture and the practices that lead to it, such as secret detentions and renditions.

Amnesty International's Secretary General Irene Khan said:

"Denying meaningful access to those held in Guantánamo Bay is totally unacceptable. Guantánamo is just the visible tip of an iceberg of abuse, the most notorious link in a chain of detention camps including Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, prisons in Iraq and secret facilities elsewhere. Through the courageous testimonies of former prisoners and prisoners' families, our conference this weekend will highlight how Guantánamo has become the epicentre of a shadow justice system supported by the subversive use of prolonged detentions and the handing over of prisoners to countries known to practice torture."

Reprieve's Legal Director, Clive Stafford Smith, who is acting on behalf of some 40 Guantánamo Bay detainees, said:

"The conference begins on the 100th day of the prisoners' hunger strike. I recently returned from Guantánamo and have just received an unclassified statement from Shaker Aamer, the British resident and father of four British children, where he writes that he has been so abused and humiliated that he wants the US military to stop force feeding prisoners and allow him to chart his own destiny and die. The British government should be ashamed of itself, refusing to lift a hand to help the ten British residents still being held there. At the conference, we will see the collateral damage of the Guantánamo experiment - the torture, the fatherless children, and the abdication of the rule of law."

Amnesty International and Reprieve recognize that protecting civilians is a government's duty, but fighting terror with terror has been a catastrophe. Respect for universal human rights is the most potent weapon in the "war on terror". Fair trials and an absolute ban on torture are the only way to properly underpin our security.

For further information about the weekend conference:

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news