News

    UN Experts Call For Probe of Secret Detention Sites

    Lisa Schlein

    The authors of a global study on secret detentions linked to counterterrorism are calling for an independent and transparent investigation into all hidden facilities.  Consideration of the study at the United Nations Human Rights Council was postponed from March under pressure by countries that found it too controversial.  

    The study shows secret detention is not a new phenomenon.  The authors say this practice did not begin after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.  It says secret detention was widely used in Latin America in the 1970s.

    Special U.N. investigator on torture, Manfred Nowack, notes countries all over the world detain people in secret facilities for a variety of general reasons, and in particular to fight terrorism.  

    "I think why 9/11 is important is that after 9/11 under the lead of the United States of America, also highly democratic countries became involved in a practice that, up to that time, was more known to (occur) in military or other forms of dictatorships," said Nowack.  "Having said that, I would say that with President Obama taking office, the United States has fundamentally changed its policy."  

    Special U.N. investigator on countering terrorism, Martin Scheinin, says the CIA program of secret detention has been discontinued.  But, he notes there still are patterns of secret detention in conflict zones.

    He says people are held there temporarily or for longer periods without access to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    "And then there is a pattern by certain police forces, often those related to intelligence agencies to detain people in their own detention facilities for purposes of interrogation and torture until the day of the official registration of deprivation of liberty," said Scheinin.  "So, that is a pattern in certain countries and, of course, in all countries that practice disappearances.  Disappearances start with secret detention and then often end up with the execution, the extra-judicial execution of the person."  

    The study notes thousands of people have been kept in secret detention, in so-called black sites that were specially constructed on foreign soil.  They allegedly were used for the purpose of applying prohibited methods of interrogation.

    The study names Thailand, Romania, Poland and Lithuania as a few of the places where the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency set up these facilities.

    The investigators say the report received a better than expected reception by the U.N. Human Rights Council, given its controversial nature.  They say the delegates treated it seriously and asked substantive questions.

    However, they agree certain countries remained hostile to its content.  They include Egypt, Syria, Algeria, and Russia.  They say the United States supported the report, with a few reservations.

    Besides calling for independent investigations into places of secret detention, the study says victims should receive reparations and perpetrators of these crimes should be held accountable.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora