OMCT - World Organisation Against Torture

10/04/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/03/2019 09:05

United States: Submission for the UN Universal Periodic Review

United States: Submission for the UN Universal Periodic Review


1. Introduction

The submitting organisations welcome the opportunity to contribute to the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United States. This submission focuses on the longstanding failure to (1) provide effective remedy and redress, including medical care, and to (2) provide fair trials to the 'High Value Detainees' who are still held in Guantánamo, including Mr. Mustafa al Hawsawi. Through a system of classifications, isolation, detention and counter-terrorism related policies the United States' government is preventing a category of victims of torture and other ill-treatment from obtaining redress, fair trials and is securing impunity for perpetrators, contrary to recommendations in the previous UPR cycles. For 18 years, the United States government has been violating numerous international human rights treaties it has ratified, first and foremost the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Such violations deserve serious attention in the upcoming UPR review.

2. Organisations Submitting this Report

The World Organisation against Torture (OMCT)

Created in 1985, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is today the main coalition of international non-governmental organisations (NGO) fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. With over 200 affiliated organisations in its SOS-Torture Network and many tens of thousands of correspondents in every country, OMCT is the most important network of non-governmental organisations working for the protection and the promotion of human rights in the world.

Based in Geneva, OMCT's International Secretariat provides personalised medical, legal and/or social assistance to hundreds of torture victims and ensures the daily dissemination of urgent interventions across the world, in order to protect individuals and to fight against impunity. Specific programmes allow it to provide support to specific categories of vulnerable people, such as women, children and human rights defenders. In the framework of its activities, OMCT also submits individual communications and alternative reports to the special mechanisms of the United Nations, and actively collaborates in the respect, development and strengthening of international norms for the protection of human rights.

REDRESS

REDRESS is an international human rights non-governmental organisation based in the United Kingdom with a mandate to assist torture survivors to seek justice and other forms of reparation. REDRESS has taken part as an intervener in litigation in the United States, Canada and Europe concerning violations committed in the CIA's RDI Program. In addition, REDRESS has been working on a case illustrative of the concerns set out in this submission and highlighted in this report - that of Mustafa al-Hawsawi - since 2012, and has filed criminal complaints in Lithuania and Poland seeking investigations into allegations that he may have been detained and tortured in those countries in the course of the US RDI Program. REDRESS continues to represent Mr Al-Hawsawi in his litigation before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) against Lithuania. As described further in this report, REDRESS has been severely hampered in its representation of Mr al-Hawsawi by the rules in place in the United States concerning access to detainees and classification of information.

The International Commission of Jurists

Composed of 60 eminent judges and lawyers from all regions of the world, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) promotes and protects human rights through the Rule of Law, by using its unique legal expertise to develop and strengthen national and international justice systems. Established in 1952, in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council in 1957, and active on five continents, the ICJ aims to ensure the progressive development and effective implementation of international human rights and international humanitarian law; secure the realization of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights; safeguard the separation of powers; and guarantee the independence of the judiciary and legal profession.