The United Nations issued a damning report Friday decrying the human rights record of the United States. The report urges the U.S. to close its secret detention centers, reduce its usage of the death penalty, ensure that minorities are adequately aided in relief efforts such as those after Katrina, and more, the Associated press reported.
The report, issued by the UN Human Rights Committee, aimed to cover both international and domestic abuses of human rights by the U.S. Focusing primarily on the secret prisons the U.S. allegedly uses to detain suspected terrorists, the committee called on the U.S. to shut down such facilities — urging the US to detain prisoners only in facilities where they can “enjoy the full protection of the law” — and in the meantime allow the International Red Cross expansive access to prisoners detained there. The report cited “credible and uncontested” evidence that such facilities existed, and claimed that the detaining of suspects had been going on for “months and years”.
The report also focused on a number of domestic issues, particularly those concerning the rights of minorities and the poor. The report claimed that, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, many people — particularly African-Americans — were “disadvantaged” when it came to relief, urging the U.S. to ensure that “the rights of poor people and in particular African-Americans are fully taken into consideration in the reconstruction plans”, particularly with regard to “housing, education and health care”.
The report also criticized U.S. usage of the death penalty. Claiming that it was used in a discriminatory fashion, with disproportionate amounts of minorities and poor people being sentenced to death, the committee stated that there should be a moratorium on the issue — in keeping with the UN’s attempts to see a global eradication of the death penalty.
The report was the result of last week’s two-day hearing in Geneva, which investigated U.S. compliance with the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and comes just two months after the UN Committee against Torture called for the closing down of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The U.S. government has not yet commented on the report, but the American delegation to the UN stated that issues of terrorism were “beyond the scope” of the 1966 treaty — something that the UN denies, urging the U.S. to approach the findings in good faith.