Friday, May 05, 2006

U.N. reminds U.S. 'Its your duty to answer " torture allegations

The United Nations urged the United States to set an example in combating torture, saying it must be more open is addressing allegations of prisoner abuse stemming from the war on terror.





The U.N. Committee Against Torture asked U.S. officials about a series of issues ranging from Washington's interpretation of a global ban on torture to its interrogation methods in prisons such as Abu Ghraib, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Andreas Mavrommatis of Cyprus, who chaired the session, praised the United States for its ''unique contribution'' in promoting human rights around the world, but said it has an obligation to be above reproach.

He said he could understand that intelligence matters needed careful treatment, ''but they are not excluded'' from scrutiny.

''If during intelligence activities there is a violation of the convention, it's our duty to investigate them and your duty to answer,'' Mavrommatis said.

State Department legal adviser John B. Bellinger III, leading the U.S. delegation in its first appearance before the committee in six years, insisted the U.S. government felt an ''absolute commitment to upholding our national and international obligations to eradicate torture.''

The committee submitted questions in advance to the U.S. government that covered such matters such as alleged secret CIA prisons and the ''rendition'' or transfer of terror suspects to other countries, where they allegedly could face torture.

Bellinger told reporters later that it was ''an absurd allegation'' to suggest that any U.S. intelligence flight in Europe might be carrying a detainee, because many carry analysts, officials and forensic information. But he added that it wasn't proper to provide details on intelligence activities.

The U.S. delegation told the committee, the U.N.'s watchdog for a 22-year-old treaty forbidding prisoner abuse, that mistakes had occurred in the U.S. treatment of detainees in the war against terrorism and 29 detainees in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan had died of what appeared to be abuse or other violations of U.S. law.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles Stimson said a total of 120 detainees have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, but none had died at Guantanamo. Most of the deaths resulted from natural causes, battlefield injuries or attacks by other detainees, he said.

In the cases of the 29 deaths from suspected abuse, Stimson said, ''these alleged violations were properly investigated and appropriate action taken.''

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Barry Lowenkron said the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib ''sickened the American people - just as they appalled people around the world. They were inexcusable, they were indefensible.''

The U.S. conducted more than 600 criminal investigations into allegations of mistreatment and more than 250 people had been held accountable for abusing detainees, Lowenkron said.

But Fernando Marino Menendez of spain cited Human Rights Watch as claiming that only a small number received prison sentences.

The United States is taking its turn as one of the 141 signatories to the Convention Against Torture in submitting to a periodic review by the 10 independent members of the committee.

Article Source here.

3 Comments:

Blogger sufferwords said...

Wow, fantastic site thank you

Sufferwords

May 06, 2006 12:23 am  
Blogger Hype said...

I read today that Bush is considering closing Guantanamo. I expect them to start cleaning up pretty soon. They didn't get enough support to carry on with their agenda.


-Hype

May 08, 2006 3:52 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...

Yea I spotted that too 'considering' seems to be the key word Hype

I will believe it when I see it

May 08, 2006 6:36 pm  

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