Skip to main content
Amnesty International UK
Log in

USA: Obama's orders on interrogations and secret detentions dubbed 'historic decision'

Amnesty International’s Secretary General Irene Khan today said President Obama’s Executive Orders on interrogations and the end of the CIA’s secret detention programme is an “historic decision” and “one of the major steps needed towards bringing the USA back in line with international human rights standards.”

Irene Khan said:

"The importance of President Obama’s executive orders should not be underestimated.

“It means that the USA no longer authorises individuals to be detained in secret sites, and tortured by techniques such as waterboarding."

Amnesty International retains concerns about some provisions of the Army Field Manual, which the organisation considers incompatible with the international prohibition on torture or other ill-treatment.

Nevertheless, by making the CIA and other non-military personnel subject to it, it enforces greater protections for detainees than have existed to date and is a major shift from the previous administration’s authorisation of torture and other ill-treatment in flagrant disregard of the USA’s international obligations on the treatment of detainees.

Other issues that will also need to be addressed, cautioned Amnesty, include the possibility of “short-term, transitory” detentions being conducted by the CIA or for it to use non-US controlled facilities for proxy detentions and interrogations.

Irene Khan added:

“Today marks a landmark in the success of campaigning for human rights. After six years of abuse and suffering, action is being taken to correct the crimes committed by the US in its ‘war on terror’.

“This must not be, however, the end of the story. All those responsible for approving and carrying out crimes such as torture, ‘disappearances’ and arbitrary detention must be brought to justice, and an independent commission of inquiry into all aspects of the USA’s detention and interrogation practices in the ‘war on terror’ be established.”

Amnesty International media information:

Neil Durkin: 020 7033 1547,
Steve Ballinger: 020 7033 1548, br />Out of hours: 07721 398984, /p>

View latest press releases