Amnesty International today made public a report detailing its concerns about torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners and detainees both in the US and in US detention sites around the world.
The report has already been sent to members of the UN Committee Against Torture, who will be examining the US compliance with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on 5 and 8 May in Geneva. The Convention against Torture prohibits the use of torture in all circumstances and requires states to take effective legal and other measures to prevent torture and to provide appropriate punishment for those who commit torture.
The US is reportedly sending a 30-strong delegation to Geneva to defend its record. In its written report to the Committee, the US government asserted its unequivocal opposition to the use or practice of torture under any circumstances — including war or public emergency.
“Although the US government continues to assert its condemnation of torture and ill-treatment, these statements contradict what is happening in practice,” said Curt Goering, Senior Deputy Executive Director Of Amnesty International USA. “The US government is not only failing to take steps to eradicate torture it is actually creating a climate in which torture and other ill-treatment can flourish — including by trying to narrow the definition of torture.”
“This all looks like a poor B-movie,” said German Green MEP Cem Oezdemir, adding: “It doesn’t seem to be an appropriate behaviour for a country which wants to become an EU member.”
BRUSSELS – European Union lawmakers Thursday accused Macedonia of giving “very contradictory information” on what it knew about the alleged abduction by the CIA of a Lebanese-born German national on its territory.
“Macedonian officials had a well-prepared official version, but there were many contradictions, and many new questions arose during our trip,” said Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, a German member of the European Parliament.
Members of a European Parliament committee investigating alleged CIA activities in Europe last week went to Macedonia to quiz top government officials on what they knew about – and if they were involved – in a high-profile case of the US-practice of extraordinary rendition or the secret transfers of a suspect to a third country for interrogation, often under torture.
Gabor Rona, International Legal Director for Human Rights First, is in Geneva observing the United States’ presentations to the Committee and will also brief the Committee on several issues of concern.
His daily bog on the proceedings can be read here
From the Financial Times
Washington to defend record on torture before UN
Washington will on Friday be called upon to defend its record on torture before an international forum for the first time since the September 11 attacks on the US sparked the ‘war on terror’.
The US has sent a 30-strong delegation to Geneva to answer questions from the United Nations committee against torture concerning abusive treatment of detainees in Guant’namo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan.
In what one UN human rights official said was ‘the longest list of issues I have ever seen’, the committee has also asked the US to supply detailed information about secret detention centres, ‘extraordinary renditions’ and other apparent violations of the UN convention on torture it ratified in 1994.