Today the US government finally acknowledged that the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) applies at its Guantánamo Bay detention facility.
The announcement came during the UN Committee against Torture’s review of the USA, which is taking place in Geneva this week. It means the USA finally recognizes that the obligation it undertook to denounce and refrain from torture and other ill-treatment apply to the government’s actions in the camp.
Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International USA’s Individuals at Risk Program, who is attending the Geneva hearing, issued the following statement:
“Acknowledging at last the long established reality that UNCAT applies at Guantánamo is certainly a welcome move, however late in the day. That said, the USA has a long way to go before meeting its obligations under the anti-torture Convention. We have seen what happens when a government fails in this regard – as with the USA’s resort to torture and enforced disappearance at ‘black sites’ under the previous administration.
“Essential further steps would be to make crystal clear that it is bound by the Convention everywhere it exercises effective control. It must fully implement the absolute prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment as contained in the Convention and immediately withdraw its reservations to the treaty and finally ensure full accountability and redress. Anything less falls short.”
Press release: USA should use UN hearing to address ‘shocking accountability gap’ on torture: http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/usa-should-use-un-hearing-address-shocking-accountability-gap-torture-2014-
Amnesty International’s submission on the USA to the Committee Against Torture: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR51/049/2014/en/6a07f2d0-18e0-4cd1-b158-c6c9cac6cbdb/amr510492014en.pdf