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Amnesty International blames US for turning blind eye to human rights violations

Amnesty International once again slammed the US administration over the Guantanamo Bay prison established in Cuba in 2002
Military-run prison at the Guantanamo Bay AP Photo/Brennan Linsley
Military-run prison at the Guantanamo Bay
© AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

LONDON, February 22. /TASS/. US authorities continue to turn a blind eye to gross human rights violations, says an Amnesty International report assessing the 2016 human rights situation in 159 countries.

"No action was taken to end impunity for the systematic human rights violations, including torture and enforced disappearance, committed in the secret CIA detention program after 9/11," the report reads.

Amnesty International’s report points out that "two years after a Senate committee reported on abuses in the secret detention program operated by the CIA, there was still no accountability for crimes under international law committed under· it."

In late 2014, the US Senate Committee on Intelligence made public an executive summary of a classified report saying that the CIA had misled the White House and the American people as it was applying various types of torture to the captured members of Al-Qaeda and other terror groups at its secret facilities in 2002-2006. The reports acknowledges that the CIA applied such torture techniques as sleep deprivation, drowning, placing detainees in a confined space, humiliating them and pouring water on them.

Guantanamo issue still unsolved

Amnesty International once again slammed the US administration over the Guantanamo Bay prison established in Cuba in 2002. "At the end of the year, nearly eight years after President Obama made the commitment to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility by January 2010, 59 men were still held there, the majority of them without charge or trial," the report says.

Human rights defenders noted that "in August, the UN Committee against Torture said that its recommendation to end indefinite detention without charge or trial, which amounted per se to a violation of the UN Convention against Torture, had not been implemented."

Meanwhile, according to the US Department of Defense, as many as 41 people are currently being kept in custody at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In contrast, the number of prisoners used to be in the hundreds.

The Guantanamo prisoners actually exist in a legal vacuum. Barack Obama signed an order to close the Guantanamo Bay facility on January 22, 2009, almost immediately after taking office. However, the prison has not been closed yet, which remains a subject for human rights activists’ criticism.

Excessive use of force

Amnesty International also raised the issue of killings carried out by the US law enforcement officers. The report notes that "the authorities continued to fail to track the exact number of people killed by law enforcement officials during the year - documentation by media outlets put the numbers at nearly 1,000 individuals killed." "According to the limited data that is available, black men are disproportionately victims of police killings."

"At least 21 people across 17 states died after police used electric-shock weapons on them, bringing the total number of such deaths since 2001 to at least 700," the report adds.

Amnesty International stressed that "most of the victims were not armed and did not appear to pose a threat of death or serious injury when the electric-shock weapon was deployed.".