Bush Administration has launched dangerous campaign to discredit human rights report

By Carmen Alicia Nebot

Not only did the President dismiss the report, but the administration has launched a dangerous campaign using high level officials to discredit the organization accusing AI of being an instrument of Al-Qaeda.

What is all this hoopla about? Let us see. During the release in London of the AI 2005 report, Secretary General Irene Khan said, “The U.S., as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power, sets the tone for governmental behavior world wide. When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a license to others to commit abuses with impunity and audacity.”
These are very strong words, but they encompass a great truth that apparently the present administration refuses to acknowledge.
This is the reality. According to the AI report, by the end of 2004, more than 500 detainees representing approximately 35 nationalities continued to be held without charge or trial on grounds of possible link to Al-Qaeda or the former Taliban government in Afghanistan at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In a landmark decision issued in June 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. federal courts had jurisdiction over the Guantanamo detainees, despite the administration’s attempts to keep any review of the detainee’s cases as far from a judicial process as possible.
The Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT), an administration review body consisting of panels of three military officers, was established to determine whether the detainees were “enemy combatants.” However, the detainees were not provided with lawyers to assist them in this process and secret evidence could be used against them. Six months after the Supreme Court ruling, no detainees have had the lawfulness of his detention judicially reviewed.
More than one thousand pages of transcription, obtained by Associated Press, detail the abuses and force confessions committed against prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. These testimonies provided a somber look at the inside of the much-guarded prison.
Another piece of information obtained by AP indicated that the U.S. paid between $3,000 to $5,000 for each Muslim captured by its allied forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These sold prisoners are confined in Guantanamo.
Unfortunately, by abdicating its worldwide responsibility, the U.S. is making human rights an unfulfilled and betrayed promise.

Carmen Alicia Nebot is a Global Ministries Missionary (UCC/Disciples) working with Amnesty International in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is the UCC’s former liaison to the United Nations in New York.

Categories: United Church of Christ News

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