Detainee in Guantanamo Bay.

Universal Periodic Review of the USA: submission on ‘High Value Detainees’ held at Guantanamo

Today, REDRESS jointly with the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) made a submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United States of America.

The joint submission focuses on the United States’ longstanding failure to provide effective remedy and redress, including medical care, and guarantee fair trials to the “High Value Detainees” who are still held in Guantánamo, including Mustafa Al-Hawsawi.

The United States claims that these “High Value Detainees” are terrorist suspects of high intelligence value. Each was captured or handed over to the US in the years following the 9/11 attacks, and was subjected to enforced disappearance and torture at CIA “black sites” for a number of years until moved to Guantánamo Bay in September 2006. These individuals are now held in a separate facility within Guantánamo Bay, and are almost completely cut off from the outside world.

Through a system of classifications, isolation and unprecedented system of secrecy around these detainees the United States’ government has prevented information being released to the public about the torture and other ill-treatment perpetrated against the detainees by US authorities, or the other States that were involved. This has prevented this category of victims from obtaining redress, and fair trials and results in impunity for perpetrators, contrary to recommendations in the previous UPR cycles.

For 18 years, the United States government has violated numerous international human rights treaties it has ratified, including violating the rights guaranteed to victims of torture under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The upcoming UPR review should give serious attention to these violations.

REDRESS has represented Mr Al-Hawsawi in legal proceedings in several countries in Europe where he is believed to have been secretly held.

Photo by PO2 Kilho Park.