The United States must provide both a judicial resolution and an apology for its use of torture at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, UN Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aoláin said on Monday.
One thing that’s clear [is] this report upholds the rights of victims of terrorism to justice, accountability, and transparency, but I find that the single most significant barrier to fulfilling the rights of victims and survivors was the use of torture.
Torture was a betrayal of the rights of the victims of the 911 attacks, Ní Aoláin said in a press briefing. The US government must urgently provide judicial resolution, apology, and guarantees of non-repetition.
Ní Aoláin spoke after her visit to the notorious prison, where she said she was granted all requested access to all the detention facilities and detainees.
She also noted that while some significant improvements have been made to the conditions of confinement at Gitmo, she is still concerned about the continued detention of 30 men and systemic arbitrariness.
I observed that after two decades of custody, the suffering of those detained is profound and it’s ongoing. Every single detainee I met with lives with the unrelenting harms that follow from systematic practices of rendition, torture, and arbitrary detention.
Ní Aoláin underscored that the report on her visit is calling for the closure of the prison.
I think it’s fair to say and we recognize both for the men who have left Guantanamo Bay Cuba, the men who have returned or have been transferred to countries of origin or countries of resettlement.
However, Guantanamo Bay remains a place of stigma both individually but also collectively, that is clear.
Established by the Bush Administration in 2002, the facility has long been criticized for mistreatment and abuses of prisoners, with human rights activists and international organizations calling for its closure.
Former US President Barack Obama vowed to close the camp but faced strong pushback from Congress. His successor, Donald Trump, signed an order to keep the detention camp open indefinitely, while incumbent President Joe Biden has promised to close the facility.
The US authorities have since shut down secretive Camp Seven, where the highly classified prisoners were kept, and transferred the detainees to other accommodation blocks.
Yet, no announcements on the full closure of the camp, which once kept over 700 people — mostly without charges — followed.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.