10 November 2014

This week, the U.S. must answer to the world on torture

Today, the United Nations Committee Against Torture kicked off a session to review steps by countries to prevent torture and punish those who use it.

According to Human Rights First, "[t]he United States is one of eight nations that will appear before the committee in Geneva to describe its efforts to fulfill [its] obligation to comply with the U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Obama Administration is now making its final decision on how it interprets the treaty. The George W. Bush Administration interpreted the treaty as not applying to CIA and military prisons overseas. That position drew bipartisan ire and was opposed by then-Senator Barack Obama." But that was a while ago, and I'm feeling cynical.

According to Prensa Latina, review of the U.S. record will occur on November 12-13, and will look at CIA secret detentions, Guantanamo, immigration issues, and police misconduct, among other issues.

Human Rights First also noted that "[f]ormer Nobel Peace Prize laureates and retired military officers are among those urging President Obama to make a clean break from the Bush Administration’s interpretation."

Will he listen?

I don't dare guess. But my fingers are crossed.

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