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UN Calls On U.S. To Close Secret Jails

Dick Marty, author of a Council of Europe report that argues that the United States has run a network of secret prisons (Council of Europe) July 28, 2006 -- The UN Human Rights Committee today called on the United States to immediately close all secret detention facilities used in the U.S. campaign against terrorism.

The committee said it has "credible and uncontested" information that the United States has detained people "secretly and in secret places for months and years."

The committee said it could not accept the United States' argument that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights does not apply to anyone held outside U.S. territory.

Responding to the committee, the U.S. State Department reiterated today that the covenant only applies in the national territory of signatories. It said the panel also apparently failed to take into account much of the information the United States had provided.

The committee also said the United States should give representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross access to anyone held in armed conflicts.

The Human Rights Committee is a body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and is distinct from the newly established UN Human Rights Council.

(Reuters, AFP)

UN Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Council

UN General Assembly delegates applaud the creation of the UN Human Rights Council on March 15, 2006 (epa)

A FRESH START ON HUMAN RIGHTS: The United Nations General Assembly on May 9 elected members to its new Human Rights Council, a step that reformers hope will help improve the United Nations' sullied record on defending human rights. The UN's old human rights watchdog -- the Commission on Human Rights -- had long been criticized for granting membership to countries with dismal human rights records, such as Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Every member of the new body has to pledge to promote human rights. (more)


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At 60, UN Gripped By Debate on Human Rights Reform


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