US Department of State Country Reports need to be more comprehensive

Amnesty International Media Statement
Thursday, March 11, 2010

Amnesty International Says DOS Country Reports Need to Be More Comprehensive
Human rights organization welcomes expanded reporting on discrimination and press freedom, but says that reports fail to provide a comprehensive assessment of economic, social, and cultural rights.

(Washington, DC) – Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA executive director, issued the following statement in response to today’s U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) release of its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices:

“Amnesty International welcomes the Obama administration’s first full contribution to assess the human rights performance of governments around the world, and in particular, the Country Reports’ expanded coverage of press freedoms and discrimination against vulnerable groups.

“However, for a thorough assessment of global human rights, the Country Reports should be more comprehensive and include all rights, not only civil and political, but also economic, social, and cultural rights. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the document from which these reports take their inspiration, includes all of the above.

“Just a few months ago, in setting out the Obama administration’s human rights agenda for the 21st Century, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rightly stated that to make human rights a reality, people must be free not only from the oppression of tyranny’ but also from the oppression of want. She further noted that the measure of success should be whether people around the world are better able to enjoy these rights as a result of the United States’ actions.

“Change will require more than just rhetoric. Taking a more comprehensive approach to the Country Reports’ assessments can and should be the first step in making these powerful words a reality in U.S foreign policy.

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Zip code change for Guantanamo

December 15, 2009

Amnesty International Says President Obama
Just Changed the Zip Code for Guantanamo

Human rights organization concerned about the fate of
detainees who continue to be held without charge

(Washington) – Tom Parker, Amnesty International USA policy director for (counter) terrorism and human rights, issued the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s decision to relocate some of the detainees in the U.S.-controlled detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the Thomsom Correctional Center in Illinois:

“The detainees who are currently scheduled to be relocated to Thomsom have not been charged with any crime. In seven years, the U.S. government including, the CIA and FBI, have not produced any evidence against these individuals that can be taken to a court of law.”

“The only thing that President Obama is doing with this announcement is changing the Zip Code of Guantanamo.”

“A fundamental principle of the rule of law is that people cannot be held without charge or trial. The founding fathers knew it, the greatest generation fought for it, candidate Obama campaigned for it and the president needs to remember it.”

AI’s response to Uighur detainees transferred to Bermuda

Amnesty International
15 June 2009
AI Index: AMR 51/076/2009

USA: Human rights must transcend party politics

On 11 June 2009 four Uighur detainees held without charge or trial in the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba since 2002 were transferred to Bermuda. Their transfer came more than eight months after a US federal judge ruled their detention unlawful and ordered their immediate release into the USA. The USA accepted that the detainees could not be returned to China, their country of origin, because of the risk of torture and execution that they would face there, but failed to release them into the USA as even a temporary measure while it sought a third country solution.

Amnesty International welcomes Bermuda’s acceptance of these four men, as it brings an end to their unlawful detention and offers them the chance to begin to rebuild their lives. It calls on all parties with interest or influence over this situation not to jeopardize the human rights of these men or their ability to get on with their future, until now put on hold.

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Palau’s offer to accept Guantánamo detainees would not excuse USA

10 June 2009

Guantánamo: Palau’s offer to accept detainees would not excuse USA

Reports that the government of Palau has offered to temporarily accept up to 17 Guantánamo detainees leave many questions unanswered and even if the offer is taken up it would not relieve the US authorities of their responsibility to the men, Amnesty International said today.

The President of Palau, Johnson Toribiong, said today that the Pacific island nation had agreed to accept on a temporary basis 17 Uighur men who have been held without charge or trial in Guantánamo since 2002 “as a humanitarian gesture”, subject to periodic review. In subsequent reports, an unidentified US official is quoted as saying that there has been “no final decision, no details arranged. We will continue talks with Palau.”

“Although Amnesty International has been calling on other countries to offer humanitarian protection to Guantánamo detainees, this announcement raises more questions than it answers and in no way absolves the US authorities of their responsibility towards these men,” Daniel Gorevan, of Amnesty International’s Counter Terror with Justice Campaign, said today.

Reports of Palau’s offer do not specify whether the men would face any further detention in Palau.

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Further Update on Urgent Action – Guantanamo / Uighurs (USA)

08 May 2009

Further information on UA 278/08 (08 October 2008) and updates (12 November 2008; 26 January 2009; 19 February 2009) – Legal concern

USA – 17 Uighur detainees held at Guantánamo

Seven months after a federal judge ruled their detention unlawful and ordered their immediate release into the USA, 17 Uighurs remain in indefinite detention at the US Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The 17 men have been held without charge in the base for more than seven years.

On 8 October 2008, Judge Ricardo Urbina of the District Court for the District of Columbia (DC) ruled that the detention of the Uighurs was unlawful. The Bush administration had conceded that the Uighurs were not “enemy combatants” (even under its own definition of the concept), and had cleared all of them for release. It had accepted that they could not be returned to their native China because they would face a serious risk of torture or execution there, but had been unable to find another country to take them. Noting that years of diplomatic efforts to find a third country solution had come to nothing, that the US government was unable to point to any security risk posed by the Uighurs, and that there were individuals and organizations in the USA ready and willing to provide the Uighurs support after their release, Judge Urbina ordered that they be freed into the USA. The Bush administration appealed to the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. After it took office on 20 January, the new administration did not move to have the appeal dismissed.

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