Friday, May 20, 2005

One year after the Abu Ghraib scandal: the humiliation of muslim detainees continues

[The following are excrepts from a statement of Human Rights Watch - click on the link below to access full text of the statement.]

Human Rights Watch said that the dispute over the retracted allegations in Newsweek that U.S. interrogators had desecrated a Koran at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has overshadowed the fact that religious humiliation of detainees at Guantánamo and elsewhere has been widespread.

Newsweek was not to blame for the damage inflicted in the riots, Human Rights Watch said.

“The damage in the riots was directly caused by violent protestors and poorly disciplined Afghan police and troops, not by Newsweek’s editors,” said Reed Brody, special counsel for Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch noted that the Newsweek story would not have resonated had it not been for the United States’ extensive abuse of Muslim detainees.

“If the U.S. government wants to repair the public relations damage caused by its mistreatment of detainees, it needs to investigate those who ordered or condoned this abuse, not attack those who have reported on it,” said Brody.

Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions, which sets out minimum requirements for the treatment of persons in armed conflicts, requires detainees to be treated humanely without adverse distinction based on religion or faith. Outrages upon personal dignity are prohibited, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.

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