Da The Guardian del 26/05/2005
Originale su http://www.guardian.co.uk/guantanamo/story/0,13743,1492350,00.html

Guantánamo is gulag of our time, says Amnesty

di Richard Norton-Taylor

Britain and the US are betraying the cause of human rights in pursuit of their "war on terror", Amnesty International says in its annual report published yesterday.

Irene Khan, Amnesty's general secretary, launching the report, accused the two governments of condoning torture while trying to keep their consciences clear. Britain used the language of freedom and justice in the context of Iraq, yet insisted that the Human Rights Act did not apply to British soldiers operating there, she said.

The British government was seeking diplomatic assurances from countries, including Algeria, to which it wanted to deport people. By seeking assurances for particular cases, it was admitting that torture was entrenched in those countries and was therefore, in effect, condoning the practice, she said.

"A new agenda is in the making, with the language of freedom and justice being used to pursue policies of fear and insecurity. This includes cynical attempts to redefine and sanitise torture," said Ms Khan.

She said the US claimed to be promoting freedom in Iraq, yet its troops had committed appalling torture and had ill-treated detainees. She described Guantánamo Bay as "the gulag of our time".

She said: "The US administration attempted to dilute the absolute ban on torture through new policies and quasi-management speak such as 'environmental manipulation', 'stress positions', and 'sensory manipulation'."

As the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power, the US sets the tone for governments' behaviour worldwide, said Ms Khan. "When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity," she said. "From Israel to Uzbekistan, Egypt to Nepal, governments have openly defied human rights and international humanitarian law in the name of national security and 'counter-terrorism'."

Although the US supreme court ruled a year ago that federal courts had jurisdiction over Guantánamo detainees, no detainee had had the lawfulness of his detention judicially reviewed, the Amnesty report says.

And although the US government told the detainees they could file habeas corpus petitions in a federal court, it also argued that they had no basis under constitutional or international law to challenge their detention.

The report contrasts the response of ordinary people to the Indian Ocean tsunami with the failure to deal effectively with other global crises. The report highlights the Darfur region in Sudan. The US had described the situation as genocide, but nothing had been done, said Ms Khan.

The UN was paralysed because of China's imports of oil from Sudan and Russia's arms exports to the country.

The US could not garner support in Africa for military intervention at least partly because it had spent its "moral currency" in Iraq, she said.

Amnesty also highlighted growing violence, including rape, against women, in Darfur. Rape was being used as a "weapon of war" in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said Ms Khan.

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