Thursday, July 3, 2008

UN envoy rips US violations in Iraq, Guantanamo, Afghanistan

Rapporteur condemns rights abuses at home, too

By Inter Press Service Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Thalif Deen
Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS: After a two-week fact-finding tour of US prison and detention facilities, a UN human rights investigator has blasted the administration of President George W. Bush for a rash of shortcomings in the country's flawed justice system and continued violations of the rule of law.

Unleashing a stinging barrage of attacks, Professor Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions, singles out the existence of racism in the application of the death penalty in the United States, and the lack of transparency in the deaths of prisoners in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility housing suspected terrorists.

Alston, a professor at the New York University School of Law and an outspoken critic of human rights abuses worldwide, also complains about the non-availability of information on civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the refusal of the US Justice Department to prosecute private security contractors who commit unlawful killings.

During his 14-day tour of the United States at the invitation of the administration, he met with federal and state officials, judges and civil society groups in New York, Washington DC, Alabama and Texas. Read On

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