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U.N. Rights Panel Calls for U.S. to End Secret Imprisonment

ASSOCIATED PRESS | July 29 2006

The United States should immediately shut any secret detention facilities and grant the Red Cross prompt access to any person detained in connection with an armed conflict, a United Nations rights panel said in a report on Friday.

The Bush administration should also allow detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to seek review of their treatment or conditions of detention before a court, it added.

“The committee is concerned by credible and uncontested information that the state party has seen fit to engage in the practice of detaining people secretly and in secret places for months and years on end,” according to the 12-page Human Rights Committee report.

The committee, which held a two-day hearing last week on United States compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a 1966 treaty, said such practices also violated the rights of detainees’ families.

The United States “should only detain persons in places in which they can enjoy the full protection of the law,” the report said. “It should also grant prompt access by the International Committee of the Red Cross to any person detained in connection with an armed conflict.”

In Washington, the State Department responded that the treaty applied only in the national territory of signatories and that it did not apply to the United States military or its installations abroad, which are governed by other domestic and international laws.

The panel also apparently failed to take into account much of the information the United States had provided, the State Department’s legal counsel, John B. Bellinger III, said in a statement.

 

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