Reports of abuse of Iraqi prisoners concerns UN human rights expert
Theo van Boven, the UN Commission on Human Rights’ Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, issued a statement calling on all countries with forces serving in Iraq “to take prompt and effective steps to investigate, prosecute and impose appropriate sanctions on any persons guilty of the alleged violations, as well as provide an effective remedy and adequate reparation for the victims of these abuses.”
Last Wednesday the CBS television network in the United States aired the programme 60 Minutes II showing a report about alleged abuses occurring at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Mr. van Boven said the freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment “is a non-derogable right,” adding that the prohibition of torture is explicitly affirmed in several international treaties, the Geneva Conventions as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday said the United States and the United Kingdom must “take a strong and firm stand to ensure that those kinds of activities are not repeated, because it does do damage, as you can see from reactions in the region.”