Guantanamo: UN criticises US

Guantanamo: UN criticises US

Guantanamo: UN criticises US. 46433.jpegPrisoners held for years without rights, without contacting their families, without the right to a lawyer, to due process, being tortured, deprived of sleep, being insulted, held in arbitrary detention without formal accusation or right to defence. Is this some tinpot dictatorship? Why no, it is Guantanamo Bay, run by who else? The US of A.

United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has hit out at the United States of America today over the Guantanamo Bay detention facility (or concentration camp), calling it a "clear breach of international law", calling for "accountability for serious violations - including torture and calling on the US Government to charge and prosecute, or else release, the detainees.

"It is 10 years since the US Government opened the prison at Guantanamo, and now three years since 22 January 2009, when the President ordered its closure within 12 months," said Navi Pillay in a news release today, adding "Yet the facility continues to exist and individuals remain arbitrarily detained - indefinitely - in clear breach of international law."  

Worse still, the National Defense Authorization Act was signed into US law last month, codifying military detention without the right to due process, a piece of legislation which Navi Pillay describes as follows: "This piece of legislation contravenes some of the most fundamental tenets of justice and human rights, namely the right to a fair trial and the right not to be arbitrarily detained. Nobody should ever be held for years on end without being tried and convicted, or released."

Rather than admitting its fault and adhering to international legal norms, the United States of America is entrenched in its ways, entrenched in its arrogance and entrenched in its determination to act as the pariah of the international community. So much for Barack Obama's change and promises to close Guantanamo. Rather than that, he has tried to legalise it.

The UN Human Rights Commissioner recognised the right of the Government of the United States of America to take measures to protect its citizens against terrorism and violence, however she pointed out to Washington that international human rights law exists to be followed, and reminded the USA that it has the obligation to guarantee the right of individuals deprived of their liberty to have the lawfulness of their condition reviewed before a court of law.

She went on to state that those who have perpetrated, ordered, tolerated or condoned torture and ill-treatment should be brought to justice and she urged the USA to permit independent human rights monitoring at the detention facility.

Once again, Washington is caught behaving as the pariah state of the international community.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey