US Torture Undermines Rights Worldwide: HRW

US counter-terrorism policies, with their deliberate use of "torture and mistreatment," put the global defense of human rights on the back foot in 2005, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its annual report Wednesday, January 18.

US Torture Undermines Rights Worldwide: HRW

The New York-based monitor said the US strategy, as well as fuelling terrorist recruitment, had hampered Washington's ability to pressure other countries into respecting international law, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"Fighting terrorism is central to the human rights cause," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

"But using illegal tactics against alleged terrorists is both wrong and counterproductive."

Pope Benedict XVI stressed in December that war could never justify human rights abuses.

Human Rights Watch had revealed that US troops routinely subjected Iraqi detainees to severe beatings and other cruel and inhumane treatment as a "way of sport" or just to "relieve stress".

Deliberate Policy

In its critique of US policy, Human Rights Watch dismissed the argument that cases of abusive interrogation could be put down to a small number of "bad apples" in the military when they were clearly "a conscious policy choice" by senior US government officials.

Roth said evidence of that deliberate policy included the threat by President George W. Bush to veto a bill opposing "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment," and moves by Vice President Dick Cheney to exempt the Central Intelligence Agency from the law.

"Responsibility for the use of torture and mistreatment can no longer credibly be passed off to misadventures by low-ranking soldiers on the nightshift," said Roth.

"The Bush administration must appoint a special prosecutor to examine these abuses, and Congress should set up an independent, bipartisan panel to investigate," he added.

The Strasburg-based Council of Europe said in December that the US appeared to have abducted and detained individuals and transformed them between countries for interrogation under torture.

Bush has come under heavy criticism from rights groups at home and abroad, and from many foreign governments, over how he has handled the interrogation and detention of suspects in the war on terrorism Washington launched after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The pressure mounted over charges that the CIA has illegally used European airports and airspace to transport terror suspects between countries without legal process.

Hypocrisy

Human Rights Watch also said the United States faced accusations of hypocrisy as it tackled 2005 troubles such as the massacre of hundreds of demonstrators in Uzbekistan, "ethnic cleansing" in Darfur, Sudan and severe repression in countries such as Myanmar, North Korea, Turkmenistan, China and Zimbabwe.

"Even when the administration spoke out in defense of human rights or acted commendably, its initiatives made less headway as a result of the credibility gap," the report said.

It said the credibility gap was reflected in muted US criticism of abuses in Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The watchdog also criticized US allies in the war on terror for undermining critical international protections, citing Britain for seeking to send suspects to governments likely to torture and Canada for moves to dilute a new treaty outlawing enforced disappearances.

The European Union was also taken to task for subordinating human rights in its relationships with others deemed useful in fighting terrorism, such as Russia, China and Saudi Arabia.

The annual report charged both Moscow and Beijing with exploiting the prevailing atmosphere to clamp down on political opponents by branding them "Islamic terrorists."

The annual Human Rights Watch report comprised a survey of human rights developments in more than 70 countries in 2005.

Source: Ýslamonline and Agencies

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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