The U.N experts said the U.S. was violating the rights of the prisoners.
With some 100 prisoners at the Guantanamo Naval Base on a hunger strike, a group of UN human rights experts on Wednesday reiterated call on the U.S. to shut down the detention centre.
“The U.S. must respect and guarantee the life, health and personal integrity of detainees at the Guantánamo Naval Base, particularly in the context of the current hunger strike,” a group of international experts on human rights, arbitrary detention, torture, counter-terrorism and health, said.
The experts are made up of the members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. They pointed out that, they had received specific information about severe and prolonged physiological and psychological damage caused by the high degree of uncertainty the detainees face over basic aspects of their lives.
The commission urged the U.S. government to adopt concrete measures to end the indefinite detention of persons to ensure that the detainees are either released or prosecuted in accordance with due process, principles and standards of international human rights law. They also urged the U.S. to allow for independent monitoring by international human rights bodies.
President Barack Obama had on Tuesday said that he would recommit himself to closing the Cuba-based prison, a goal he had voiced at least three times in the past four years but which was hampered by Congressional opposition.
The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, noted that there was indefinite detentions of individuals at the camp who have not been charged for any offences.
Mr. Mendez explained that this “goes far beyond a minimally reasonable period of time and causes a state of suffering, stress, fear and anxiety, which in itself constitutes a form of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.”
According to Mr. Mendez, around half of the 166 detainees in the centre have been cleared for transfer to their home countries or third countries for resettlement.
“All relevant security-related Government agencies or authorities have expressly certified that those detainees do not represent a threat to U.S. security,” the UN Special Rapporteur on countering terrorism, Ben Emmerson, said.
In his remarks, the head of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, El Hadji Sow, said, “Of those, 56 are Yemeni nationals who have not been release based solely on their nationality, and the political situation in Yemen. This constitutes a clear violation of the principle of non-discrimination. It renders their detention arbitrary and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law,” Mr. Sow explained.
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