UN rights commissioner asks US to close Gitmo
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said: “I am deeply disappointed that the US government has not been able to close Guantánamo Bay, despite repeatedly committing itself to do so.”
Her call comes at a time when around half of the 166 inmates have been cleared for transfer to their home or third countries but remained there. Others are said to have been designated for indefinite detention.
“Some of them have been festering in this detention centre for more than a decade. This raises serious concerns under international law,” she said in a statement.
The situation weakened Washington’s stance that it was an upholder of human rights, and undermined its position while addressing human rights violations elsewhere, the UN commissioner remarked.
Pillay said she was concerned that despite US commitments to shut the centre, detainee rights abuses had continued in a systematic way, leading many prisoners to go on hunger strikes.
She stressed: “We must be clear about this: the United States is in clear breach not just of its own commitments but also of international laws and standards that it is obliged to uphold...”
The commissioner observed as long as the prison remained open, the US must respect the detainees’ rights. “Under human rights law, people deprived of their liberty must be treated with humanity and with respect for their inherent dignity.”
Some of the 40 inmates, currently on a hunger strike against their indefinite detention, have lost so much weight that they are being force-fed liquid nutrients.
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