With United States Election to U.N. Human Rights Council, Obama Administration Must Regain Credibility and Fix Approach to Counter-Terrorism

Press Release
November 12, 2012

With United States Election to U.N. Human Rights Council, Obama Administration Must Regain Credibility and Fix Approach to Counter-Terrorism

Guantanamo and Military Commissions Cited in U.S. Human Rights Record

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel

(New York) -- Suzanne Nossel, Amnesty International USA executive director, made the following comment today in response to the United States’ election to the United Nations Human Rights Council:

"The most important contribution the United States can now make to the cause of human rights is a determined effort to regain its own credibility. While we welcome the pledges and commitments the United States has made to win election to the Council, the U.S. cannot urge the rule of law, accountability and transparency in Geneva, while exempting itself from international standards and shielding key aspects of its own conduct from scrutiny. The continued indefinite detention without criminal charges of 166 men at the Guantanamo Bay naval base, the ongoing military commission proceedings that fail to meet fair trial standards, a drone program shrouded in secrecy and the lack of accountability for torture and disappearances in the so-called 'war on terror' undermine human rights and undercut the legitimacy of the U.S.’s voice at the Council."

According to Resolution 60/251, Council members are expected to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights." Amnesty International sent an open letter to all candidates urging them to demonstrate their commitment and take corrective steps on human rights protections where they have fallen short.

In a letter sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Amnesty International USA reiterated its concerns overall on the United States’ so-called “war on terror” practices and urged the Obama administration to push for ratification of several treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.