U.S. Offers No Concrete Steps Toward Implementing McCain Ban on Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment

(New York, May 5, 2006) – In the final day of its appearance before the UN Committee against Torture, the United States Government failed to provide a concrete plan for preventing all U.S. officials from using cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in interrogations of detainees in U.S. custody.  Abusive interrogations are banned by the McCain Amendment, which was passed by Congress last year. This law reaffirms the U.S. government’s obligation under the Convention Against Torture, but the administration has yet to make clear what the law means in practice.

“In light of the widespread abuse of detainees in U.S custody, which Human Rights First and others have documented, the continued failure of the United States to implement the law banning cruel treatment by all U.S. officials remains deeply troubling,” said Gabor Rona, Human Rights First’s International Legal Director.

Human Rights First has documented nearly 100 deaths in U.S. custody, only 12 of which resulted in any kind of punishment.  The Pentagon has classified 34 of these cases as homicides. Human Rights First has documented eight cases where detainees in U.S. custody were tortured to death.

“Human Rights First has urged the U.S. Government to incorporate the McCain Amendment standard in its new Army Field Manual on interrogations,” said Mr. Rona.  “But unfortunately we received no such assurances at these hearings,” Rona said.

For more Human Rights First reports on the Committee’s hearings in Geneva, please visit /2006/05/03/u-n-convention-against-torture-observations/.


Published on May 8, 2006


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