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Human Rights Watch Criticizes U.S. Detentions In New Report

Human Rights Watch said U.S. has shown a "disregard for human rights" in its treatment of terror suspects (file) (AFP) 18 January 2006 (RFE/RL) -- A leading U.S. human rights group has criticized the U.S. administration for mistreatment of detainees, saying it appears to have become a deliberate part of the war on terror.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its annual report that this practice has helped terrorists to recruit new members and hampered Washington's ability to pressure countries into respecting international law.

HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth spoke in Washington about the report.

"This U.S. disregard for human rights in the name of fighting terrorism has been extraordinarily counterproductive even for the effort to defeat terrorism. It has lost the United States the moral high ground. It has bred resentment, which has been a boon for terrorist recruiters."

The White House dismissed the report. Spokesman Scott McClellan said the study was based on "more on a political agenda than facts."

In the report, HRW also accuses both Moscow and Beijing of abusing the war on terrorism in order to clamp down on political opponents.

The rights group also targeted Uzbekistan for what it called a "disastrous" human rights record, which it said worsened in 2005 after a government crackdown in the eastern city of Andijon in May 2005.

Other countries mentioned for abusing rights include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Serbia and Montenegro, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine.

The report highlights some bright spots, including Kyrgyzstan for withstanding intense pressure from Uzbekistan to rescue some 440 refugees from the crackdown in Andijon.

(Human Rights Watch)