Last Friday, the United Nations Committee Against Torture released a report that seriously criticizes the United States for its responses and investigations into counter-terrorism methods, police brutality, immigration policies, sexual assault in the military and other subjects of concern.
The Committee laid out several requests on detaining prisoners to the U.S. government. First, the U.S. government is to ensure that no one is held in secret detention under its de facto effective control. And second, they must ensure that all detainees are afforded legal safeguards from the very outset of their deprivation of liberty.
On a topic that has sparked recent protests around the U.S., the report noted that the U.S. should do more at the federal level to make sure police found to have used excessive force are prosecuted. The report supports investigations via an independent mechanism with no institutional or hierarchical connection between the investigators and the alleged perpetrators.
Regarding the death penalty, the U.N. wants the United States to take the steps necessary to eventually abolish the capital punishment.
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The report noted concerns regarding the Department of Defense's efforts in addressing allegations of sexual violence in the military. The U.N. wants to ensure prompt, impartial and effective investigations into this issue.
Responding to the report, Ned Price, a spokesman for Obama's National Security Council, said: "We are reviewing the Committee's concluding observations. In our presentation before the Committee earlier this month, U.S. officials reaffirmed our deep and abiding commitment to the obligations enshrined in the Convention Against Torture, to which we are a party, and engaged in a robust dialogue with the Committee. We will continue to work with our partners toward the achievement of the Convention's ultimate objective: a world without torture."
Jamil Dakwar, American Civil Liberties Union Human Rights Program Director, said in a statement Friday that the U.S. officials' words are worthless unless changes are made.
"The Obama administration needs to match its rhetoric with actions by supporting full accountability for torture," Dakwar said.