Tag Archives: United States

Guantánamo Bay, 14 years on – Rights experts urge the US to end impunity and close the detention facility

January 11, 2016 – On the 14th anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez has joined other independent UN Human Rights Experts and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in calling for the facility’s closure. In an open letter to the United States government, the experts again reiterated their call for the closure of Guantánamo Bay and the need for “the United States [to] . . . clean up its own house – impunity only generates more abuses, as States do not feel compelled to stop engaging in illegal practices.” The experts further stated that “[t]he United States must demonstrate leadership and commitment to ensure that international law principles are upheld.” The experts urged the Government to end impunity for violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed during the so-called “global war on terror” and investigate and prosecute those responsible. To read the full press release, please visit the OHCHR website.

Special Rapporteur reiterates desire to make an official visit to United States following President Obama’s recent call for criminal justice reform

July 21, 2015 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez today called on the United States Government to facilitate his request to carry out an official visit to the United States. The call comes after President Obama’s visit last week to El Reno prison in Oklahoma and his statements highlighting the need for criminal justice reform in the US, particularly as regards unacceptably high rates of incarceration that have a disparate impact on racial minorities, overcrowding, and the extensive use of solitary confinement.

The Special Rapporteur added that he looks forward to “working with the US Department of Justice on the special study commissioned by the President on the need to regulate solitary confinement, which affects 80,000 inmates in the United States, in most cases for periods of months and years.”

The Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Seong-Phil Hong stated at the same time that the Working Group has also asked the Government for an opportunity to visit federal and state institutions where persons are deprived of their liberty.

“We hope the President’s recent actions will ensure concrete steps are taken to facilitate these visits to US detention facilities, including private interviews with detainees” the independent experts said. “We stand ready to provide any additional expertise to ensure that prison reforms are implemented in accordance with international human rights standards,” they concluded.

 See the full article here.

Special Rapporteur on Torture Discusses U.S. Government’s Denial of Full Access to Guantanamo Bay

July 2013 – United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez discussed the U.S. Government’s reluctance to grant him full access to detainees held in Guantanamo Bay prison. The Special Rapporteur explained that he was unable to accept the Pentagon’s invitation to visit under restricted conditions, and in particular without the ability to conduct individual interviews with inmates. He further stressed that the standards and rules applicable to his visits have been mandated and approved by the UN Human Rights Council. Link to interview.

Observations Report (Mendez 2013)

Observations Report (Mendez 2012)

Amicus Curiae to Supreme Court of the United States: Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum Co. (Mendez 2012)

Observations Report (Mendez 2011)

Solitary Confinement – Thematic Report (Mendez 2011)

Observations Report (Nowak 2010)

Observations Report (Nowak 2009)