USA: Obama's first 100 days has sent 'mixed messages' on human rights
* Only one detainee - Binyam Mohamed - released from Guantánamo
* Torture memo publication welcome, but accountability for torture still needed
Amnesty International has today (29 April) described US President Barack Obama’s first 100 days on counter-terrorism policies as “promises for change with only limited action”.
The assessment comes as the human rights organisation issued a new 31-page report analysing the US Administration’s actions on security and counter-terrorism.
Amnesty’s report welcomes a number of positive developments during President Obama’s first 100 days - including the issuing of executive orders on Guantánamo’s closure, an end to the CIA programme of long-term secret detentions, and imposing new standards for interrogations - but also highlights serious shortcomings.
Amnesty international Secretary General Irene Khan said:
“President Obama's actions - within 48 hours of taking office - to close Guantánamo within a year, end secret CIA detentions and break with the secrecy of the Bush administration were very welcome.
“We have seen some important positive developments in the first 100 days but there are still some steps that are either incomplete or remain to be taken, for instance on Bagram where hundreds are still detained with no solution in sight.
“’Closure and disclosure’ will not be complete until the US government follows through by ending all unlawful detentions, bringing to justice all those responsible for torture and other serious human rights violations carried out during the Bush administration, and providing real remedies to victims.”
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
“We cheered when President Obama said he would close Guantánamo within a year but it’s extremely disappointing that only one prisoner’s fate has actually been decided 100 days later.
“Of the 240 detainees still languishing at Guantánamo, we are extremely concerned for the fate of two men with links to the UK - Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha. It’s very important that the UK government now exerts pressure for their safe release or fair trial.
“Meanwhile, President Obama’s apparent willingness to allow an independent inquiry in the US should be the prompt for our own government to allow an inquiry here into all aspects of the “war on terror” - from rendition to alleged UK complicity in secret detention and torture.”
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