U.S. UPR Response Garners Praise, Further Reforms Recommended
- Reiterated its commitment to closing Guantanamo and to preventing all acts of torture by US officials;
- Asserted its support for the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers; and
- Committed to investigate all acts of torture regardless of where they are perpetrated.
However, the organization notes that it is cause for concern that the United States has:
- Rejected recommendations that the U.S. government ensure that victims of torture have access to compensation as is required by Article 14 of the Convention Against Torture;
- Failed to articulate what actions the administration plans to take to lay the political and legal groundwork for ensuring that Guantanamo is closed; and
- Rejected recommendations to cease trials in the failed and flawed military commissions that do not meet the minimum due process standards required by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
“The U.S. government response notes some meaningful improvements, but it also fails recognize several legitimate concerns raised during the Review, including the U.S.’s failure to meet its legal obligations to provide victims of torture with access to remedies,” Rona observed. On the detention of asylum seekers and other immigrants, Human Rights First welcomes the government’s commitment in its response to States’ recommendations to comply with its obligations under international human rights law relating to the treatment of detained immigrants, including the conditions in which they are held. Given this commitment, it is particular cause for concern that the United States has failed to commit to revising its regulations to provide arriving asylum seekers and other detained immigrants with immigration court review of their custody. Human Rights First is urging the U.S. government to:
- Revise regulatory language to provide arriving asylum seekers and other immigrants who are held in immigration detention with the chance to have their custody reviewed in a hearing before an immigration court. Current US detention procedures do not comply with Article 9(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); and
- Expand Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) use of alternatives to detention and reduce reliance on prisons and prison-like facilities. ICE should instead use facilities with non-penal detention conditions when detention is necessary in accordance with international human rights standards.