UK: foreign affairs committee criticism of government torture and rendition underlines need for full inquiry

Amnesty International UK today responded to the report of the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), echoing its concerns regarding allegations of UK complicity in torture and rendition and calling for a full, independent inquiry into the UK’s involvement in “War on terror” human rights abuses.

However, Amnesty urged the committee not to ‘go soft on torture’ and reiterated its view that there should be no place in the UK for information extracted under torture.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“This report is yet another voice in a growing chorus demanding greater transparency over the UK’s involvement in “War on terror” human rights abuses. It adds yet more weight to our call for a full, independent inquiry.

“Like most of us, the FAC is very concerned at allegations that UK officials may have been complicit in torture, as more evidence comes to light from NGOs and the media. It’s also right to highlight the UK’s international obligation to investigate thoroughly any such allegations.

“We agree with the FAC that the Intelligence and Security Committee lacks independence from the government and hence isn’t an appropriate body to investigate these very serious issues.

“And the Committee rightly asks some very pointed questions about the use of UK airspace and territory, particularly Diego Garcia, in US rendition operations.

“However it’s deeply worrying that the FAC seems content for the UK authorities to receive and act upon information that may be fresh from the torture chamber. Britain should stand firm in its opposition to torture, both through our words and our actions.”

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