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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2730

Restoring Respect for Human Rights in U.S. will Help Foster Same Abroad

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, DC. 14 July (Asiantribune.com): “We are eager to work with (US) Congress to create a (Guantanamo Prison) closure plan that respects the human rights of people in U.S. custody. Amnesty International believes that restoring respect for human rights and the rule of law at home will help foster the same abroad and reduce the threat of violence” says Amnesty International statement issued July 12 following statement of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Tom Harkin.

The two Democratic Senators proposed amendments to the U.S. Department of Defense Appropriations authorization, now before the Congress, to close the U.S.-controlled detention facility in Gunatanamo Bay, Cuba.

The detention facility houses approximately 350 ‘enemy combatants’ since the September 11, 2001 attack on the U.S. soil but none has been brought before the court of law. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision said that they are covered by the Writ of Habeas Corpus, a reversal of Bush Administration policy.

Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA’s executive director issued the following statement.

"Amnesty International deeply appreciates Senators Harkin and Feinstein's commitment to close Guantanamo. As one of the first organizations to call for the detention center's closure, we are eager to work with Congress to create a closure plan that respects the human rights of people in U.S. custody. Amnesty International believes that restoring respect for human rights and the rule of law at home will help foster the same abroad and reduce the threat of violence.

"The introduction of an amendment to close Guantanamo Bay in one year is a good step forward, but any proposal must include critical safeguards against unfair trials, indefinite detention and returns to torture or persecution.

"The Bush administration cannot be trusted to develop a closure plan as they continue to believe their unlawful practices comply with U.S. and international law. It would be devastating to close Guantanamo only to transfer the unlawful detention regime somewhere else."

Amnesty International recently released an updated framework to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay and urges that any closure plan:

-- Ensure that anyone who is accused of war crimes or terrorism related offenses be afforded a fair trial before an independent and impartial court, such as a U.S. federal court. Military commissions fall far short of internationally recognized fair trial standards and should not be used.

-- Ensure that detainees who remain in U.S. custody are not further subjected to arbitrary and indefinite detention by ensuring that those in custody are either charged with a recognizable crime or released unconditionally.

-- Ensure that no one will be returned to his country of origin or to any other country where he would likely face a threat of torture or persecution.

- Asian Tribune -

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