States block progress on global justice - Amnesty


Reuters/express May 27, 2010

LONDON: Amnesty International accused powerful governments of subordinating justice to political self-interest and of shielding allies from scrutiny, in an annual survey meant to pressure governments to act more compassionately,

The human rights organisation took the US to task for President Barack Obama's failure to close its prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Amnesty's interim secretary-general, Claudio Cordone said the United States had started 2009 "positively" with Obama ordering an end to the CIA's secret detention programme and the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques."


But by the end of the year, Guantanamo Bay was still open despite Obama's promise to close the prison camp within one year, while a prison on Bagram airbase in Afghanistan still held detainees in violation of international standards.

"There has been hardly any accountability for violations during the "war on terror,"" Cordone told a news conference.

Amnesty complained that the US and members of the European Union had obstructed international justice to shield Israel from accountability for war crimes. It said the UN Human Rights Council had shown bias against Israel, while the UN.Security Council had shielded Israel from scrutiny after Israel's 2008-2009 military assault in the Gaza Strip.

It said Israel and the Hamas, which controls Gaza, were still ignoring a call for accountability by the Goldstone report into the offensive, and that international pressure was needed.

Amnesty also highlighted what it said was the UN Human Rights Council's "paralysis" over Sri Lanka, which last May declared victory over the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and an end to a 25-year separatist war.

China also came under criticism in the report.


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