U.S. urged to end impunity and close Guantanamo detention facility

GENEVA, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) — A group of human rights experts from the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Monday urged the U.S. government to put an end to impunity for the human rights and humanitarian law violations committed in the so-called ‘global war on terror’.

They also called on the U.S. to promptly close down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

“The United States must clean up its own house, impunity only generates more abuses as States do not feel compelled to stop engaging in illegal practices,” the experts said in an Open Letter published on Monday.

“Long term security can be regained if a page is turned on this dark chapter of post-Sept. 11 practices in response to terrorism,” the letter noted.

Those who signed the letter include the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism Ben Emmerson, and UN Special Rapporteur on independence of the judiciary Monica Pinto.

The Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Seong-Phil Hong, and the director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Michael Georg Link, also jointed the signing.

“Everyone implicated, including at the highest level of authority, must be held accountable for ordering or executing extraordinary renditions, secret detention, arbitrary arrest of civilians and so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ in the name of combatting terrorism,” they said.

The experts recalled that close to a hundred detainees still languish in Guantanamo after years of arbitrary detention without trial, outside of the rule of law and the reach of the U.S. regular courts, despite an executive order issued by U.S. President Barak Obama in January 2009 to release or transfer them and close down the facility within one year.

“They are the forgotten ones as the United States moves from a ‘war on terror’ to a ‘war on extremism’, without having acknowledged, reflected and made amends for past violations of fundamental human rights,” they stressed.

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