Obama and McCain lobbied on rendition from Ireland
Good to see that our colleagues south of the border have launched a letter-writing campaign targeting Barack Obama and John McCain – one of whom will be the new US President in January 2009 – on the issue of extraordinary rendition through Ireland.
In the past, the current US administration has offered diplomatic assurances to the Irish Government that no flights engaged in rendition have passed through Ireland. However, Amnesty International and the Council of Europe have documented that these flights have in fact come through Shannon airport.
The Irish government – like their UK counterparts – have preferred a 'hear no evil, see no evil' approach to complicity in extraordinary rendition. They have all too readily accepted American assurances – which subsequently have proven to be worthless – that Irish and UK airspace and facilities have not been used in the execution of this international crime.
Now Amnesty wants Senators McCain and Obama to give a new diplomatic assurance to the Irish Government that their administrations would not object to suspected rendition flights being searched when using Irish airports or airspace. Surely no human rights-respecting administration could object to such a request?
Amnesty on both sides of the border would welcome an end to rendition through anyone's airspace, alongside the early closure of Guantánamo Bay, an end to military commissions / kangaroo courts and an end to the use of torture, by the new administration whatever its political hue.
Roll on January.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.