UN rights chiefs lead new assault on US
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Last Updated: Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 14:12
  
United Nations: UN human rights chiefs and experts launched a new offensive on the US conduct of its "war on terror" and conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The leaking of 400,000 documents on the Iraq war and war crimes charges against a former Al-Qaeda child soldier at the Guantanamo prison camp has opened the door to new criticism despite President Barack Obama's efforts to improve the US image.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay on Tuesday urged Iraq and the United States to investigate allegations of torture and unlawful killings in the Iraq conflict revealed in documents released by Wikileaks.

A UN investigator on torture called for an investigation into all US practices since the September 11, 2001 attacks. Another UN expert called the US military hearing against a young Al-Qaeda operative at Guantanamo "a disgrace."

A US official expressed surprise at the new criticism but, speaking on condition of anonymity, said "even the UN knows that the situation has changed since the president (Obama) came to office" in January 2009.

Pillay, based in Geneva, said the United States and Iraq should investigate all allegations in the Wikileak documents and "bring to justice those responsible for unlawful killings, summary executions, torture and other serious human rights abuses."

She said documents released by the whistleblowing website added to her concerns that serious human rights breaches had occurred in Iraq, including "summary executions of a large number of civilians and torture and ill-treatment of detainees."

The files indicate that despite knowing about "widespread use of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by Iraqi forces" the US military still handed over thousands of detainees to Iraq between early 2009 and July 2010, Pillay said.

The US case was also taken up by UN special rapporteurs on rights who are giving their annual reports to the UN General Assembly.

Manfred Novak, UN special rapporteur on torture, said he was denied admission to detention centers in Iraq by American officials.

He acknowledged a change in US actions since Obama came to power but added that there should be a "full investigation" into practices by the US military, intelligence and private companies since 2001.

Bureau Report


First Published: Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 14:12


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