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The Human Rights Issue of Guantanamo Bay

Uploaded by David Thomlinson on Mar 03, 2004

Human rights are those rights that all persons inherently possess. These rights are protected by various legal principals such as the rule of law and ensure the dignity of all people. Various organisations such as the United Nations attempt to ensure that all nations adhere to human rights laws. However, human rights are being violated by countries all around the world, even by countries such as the United States who have the national strategy - “America must stand firmly for the non – negotiable demands of human dignity” . The United States have been breaching international covenants and conventions on human rights with their terrorist detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. The United States, however, “acts according to the laws it defines for itself” . It is entitled to do so as it is a sovereign state.

Guantanamo Bay is an American Navel base used to permanently incapacitate approximately 660 detainees from 40 nations, including children. Because the base is located on Cuban territory the prisoners are not protected by the American constitution or judiciary “it is the obligation of the Judicial Branch to ensure the preservation of our constitutional values” . These prisoners are held at the detention center in “legal limbo, with no access to lawyers or families” . The prisoners are kept isolated for 24 hours a day, little outdoor exercise time and no interaction with other prisoners. The inmates are interrogated for hours at a time and it is commonly speculated subject to torture. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is the only non – government organisation allowed access to the prisoners. The ICRC is worried about the psychological impact that the prison is inflicting on inmates. A photograph released by the Pentagon shows inmates kneeling before soldiers, hands and ankles cuffed with masks completely covering their faces. The photograph has become an “icon of unacceptable US exceptionalism” . Sayed Abbasin, once an inmate of the Guantanamo bay detention center described the experience “it was the act of an animal to treat a human being like that” .

The United States government authorised military commissions to hand down the death penalty for detainees of Guantanamo Bay. Against the verdicts the prisoners have no right to appeal, which is a requirement of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The...

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Uploaded by:   David Thomlinson

Date:   03/03/2004

Category:   Politics

Length:   5 pages (1,203 words)

Views:   2932

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