UK urged to establish the truth about rights violations

Amnesty International is calling on the UK to make the full truth known about alleged human rights violations against people held overseas during counter-terrorism operations after it was reported a number of men are to receive a financial settlement following legal action. The move to pay compensation follows legal action brought by six former detainees alleging UK responsibility for their detention, torture and ill-treatment. “Financial compensation can be an important part of the right to remedy and reparation for victims of grave human rights violations. However, it remains only one part,” said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director.“The need for full and public disclosure of the truth about human rights violations and the duty of states to hold those responsible to account remains essential and must not be swept aside.”Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil el Banna, Richard Belmar, Omar Deghayes, Binyam Mohamed and Martin Mubanga had taken legal action against the UK authorities. The men were seeking damages over the government’s role in human rights violations they suffered during their rendition to and detention at various locations, including Guantanamo Bay. Media reports said the government decided to make the payments in order to avoid possible disclosures about the activities of the intelligence services in court cases involving by former detainees. Lawyers acting for the UK government have repeatedly sought to prevent disclosure of relevant material, and had argued for closed procedures allowing courts to consider secret material presented by UK authorities in closed sessions. “To date the rights to access to justice for these former detainees have been obstructed by persistent efforts on the part of the UK government to prevent disclosure of evidence relevant to these allegations.”“A human rights commission of inquiry is needed to establish the truth about what happened,” said Nicola Duckworth.Amnesty International takes no position on the appropriateness of the particular payments announced in these cases.