time to adhere to the ‘rules of the road’
The USA must review the full range of its conduct in the counter-terrorism context to ensure that its human rights obligations are being met. The Guantánamo detentions have become mired in a domestic US political context in which over the short-term it may seem less costly to invoke concepts such as “national security” or “global war” to justify deep departures from the USA’s human rights commitments, than to confront and remedy the human rights violations of the past and present.
The USA should adhere to the “rules of the road” on human rights, not continue to undermine them via the distorting lens of its global “war” paradigm, under which domestic political considerations and sweeping and ever-growing national security arguments are being driven into a head-on collision with the universal principles of human rights, justice, and the rule of law.
1 See, for example, USA: Undermining security: violations of human dignity, the rule of law and the National Security Strategy in ‘war on terror’ detentions, April 2004, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/061/2004/en
2 National Security Strategy, http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/national_security_strategy.pdf
3 See, for example, USA: The promise of real change. President Obama’s executive orders on detentions and interrogations, 30 January 2009, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/015/2009/en
4 Assistant Attorney General David Kris Speaks at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., 11 June 2010, remarks available at http://www.justice.gov/nsd/opa/pr/speeches/2010/nsd-speech-100611.html
5 2009 Human Rights Report: Egypt, available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136067.htm