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

 


USA: Close Guantánamo and end human rights hypocrisy

20 January 2014

The continued operation of the US detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is a prime example of the USA’s double standard on human rights, Amnesty International said today, almost five years after President Barack Obama signed an executive order to close the facility.

"On 22 January 2009, ordering the closure of Guantánamo within a year was among President Obama’s first official decisions after he came to office,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Director of Amnesty International's Americas Programme.

“Five years later, this promise of change has become a human rights failure that threatens to haunt President Obama’s legacy, just as it has his predecessor’s."

Twelve years after the first detainees were brought to Guantánamo, strapped down in planes like cargo, more than 150 men are still held there. Most of them are held without charge or trial.

A few Guantánamo detainees face trial under a military commission system that does not meet international fair trial standards. Of the almost 800 detainees who have been held there, less than one per cent have been convicted by military commission – and the majority of those were the result of pre-trial plea bargains.

The USA expects other countries to do what it refuses to – accept released detainees who cannot be repatriated. As a result, even those who obtain a judicial ruling against their detention may continue to be held. The transfer to Slovakia last month of three Chinese ethnic Uighur men came more than five years after a US federal judge ruled their detention unlawful.

More than 70 detainees – the majority of them Yemenis – have been “approved for transfer”, but the security situation in their home countries or other issues have been deemed by the administration as reasons to delay their transfer out of Guantánamo.

“Detainees at Guantánamo remain in limbo with their lives on hold for years on end. Many have suffered serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearance and torture, but access to remedy has systematically been blocked and accountability minimal”, said Erika Guevara Rosas.

“Every year that the USA has been operating the Guantánamo detention camp, it has continued to proclaim its commitment to international human rights standards. If any other country was responsible for the human rights vacuum of Guantánamo, it would surely draw the USA’s condemnation. It’s long past time for the US authorities to end this double standard.”

Amnesty International calls on the US authorities to ensure independent and impartial investigations into all credible allegations of human rights violations carried out at Guantánamo and against detainees held elsewhere. The findings should be made public, and anyone responsible for crimes under international law brought to justice, regardless of their current or former level of office.

The secrecy regarding human rights violations committed by US military and intelligence officials must come to an end, the organization said.

“Impunity for crimes under international law such as torture and enforced disappearance committed against detainees, including at Guantánamo, is a festering injustice that leaves the USA in serious violation of its international obligations,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.

Amnesty International is calling for all victims of US human rights violations – including current and former Guantánamo detainees – to have genuine access to meaningful remedy.

AI Index: PRE01/016/2014

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Westminster: NZ PM Condemns London Attack

“London is a place many thousands of New Zealanders have visited and called home, and where many more have friends and family based, so this attack feels very close to home,” Mr English says. More>>

ALSO:

Amnesty: Campaign Mass Hangings And Extermination At Syrian Prison

A chilling new report by Amnesty International exposes the Syrian government’s calculated campaign of extrajudicial executions by mass hangings at Saydnaya Prison. Between 2011 and 2015, every week and often twice a week, groups of up to 50 people ... More>>

Russian Hack Job?: White House - Actions In Response To Russian Malicious Cyber Activity & Harassment

President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. More>>

Israel/Palestine: Michael Field - Background To How Israel Nearly Went To War With New Zealand

New Zealand and Senegal managed to get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolution 2334 which said Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine. More>>

ALSO:

US Indigenous Affairs: How President Obama Has Protected Our Sacred Land

I am very proud to be both Navajo and American. As the President of the Navajo Nation, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring that, as a Navajo, my story -- and our stories -- are part of our collective American history. Today, I want to share one of those stories with you. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news