Tuesday, April 26, 2011

U.S.: UN Special Rapporteur on Torture denied access to Wikileaks suspect

At a time when the U.S. is echoing calls for democracy and human rights in North Africa and the Middle East, allegations of torture, cruel and inhuman treatment of a high-profile prisoner in the U.S. have gone uninvestigated. A U.S. soldier - Bradley Manning (see photo) - who was arrested in May 2010 on suspicion of leaking classified information, including 25,000 diplomatic cables, to WikiLeaks has reportedly been held in solitary confinement since 2010, amidst widespread allegations of torture and other cruel and degrading treatment. The U.S. government has given a deft ear to these allegations and recently denied the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture unmonitored access to Bradley Manning.

Juan E. Méndez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in a recent televised interview expressed concern about the conditions in which Bradley Manning is being held and the U.S. government's unwillingness to grant unmonitored access to the detained soldier.

During the interview, he spoke about the case of Bradley Manning, solitary confinement and what constitutes cruel, inhuman treatment or torture.

Denying the UN Special Rapporteur unmonitored access to a victim of alleged torture interferes with the work of the Rapporteur and the Human Rights Council of the UN as a whole. The U.S. government should grant the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture unconditional access to Bradley Manning and investigate allegations of cruelty against the soldier.

Blocking UN access to a victim of alleged torture undermines the U.S. government's voice in international human rights discourse and emboldens repressive regimes

1 comment:

  1. The issue concerning the Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning represents an issue which requires deep reflection and thought on the need to protect human rights and National security.While we agree that Human rights are not absolute and therefore that national security may form a legitimate ground for introducing certain limitations, it would be a mistake to conclude that national security generally trumps human rights. A more nuanced legal analysis is required in order to respond to the challenges of complying with human rights while at the same time effectively maintaining national security.What is disheartening in this backlash is the ease by which governments like the U.S that were known as champions of the international concern of human rights have changed course and become generators of legal arguments and doctrines that seek to deny the applicability or substantive contents of human rights law when they engage in these measures of national security. Such constructions try to turn the clock back by more than 60yrs to times when human rights were not yet recognized as a matter of concern for the international community. However we must accept that while every individual is entitled to the respect of his fundamental human rights, people must act in such a way that will not affect the general good of the public, and to my mind the interest of the general public must prevail.


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