EU-US Summit: no more business as usual, please

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL – EU-US Summit: no more business as usual, please

Washington, DC, Brussels, Belgium (rushprnews) April 30, 2007 -Don’t continue to ignore the human rights abuses in the fight against terrorism, says Amnesty International ahead of the EU-US Summit taking place in Washington on April 30.

In a briefing sent to Chancellor Merkel in February (see the human rights organization urged that this occasion be used to ask the US government to:

Ø Take practical steps towards the closure of Guantánamo Bay and similar detention facilities;
Ø End the CIA secret detention programme and reveal names and locations of all those still being held in such a prisons;
Ø End the extraordinary renditions programme, as demanded by the European Parliament.

Despite world wide appeals to shut it down, five years later Guantánamo Bay is still filled with hundreds of people of more than thirty nationalities.

In June 2006 Amnesty International presented US authorities a framework with concrete steps to close Guantánamo. It is the US administration’s responsibility to find a solution and one that is compatible with international law and standards. But the EU can and should exert pressure so that the US authorities finally start taking steps to close what has become a universal symbol of injustice.

In the same spirit, Amnesty International has also asked that the EU offers the necessary support in bringing about fair trials or release of detainees and that Member States consider resettling those for whom it is not safe to be returned to their home country.

However, as admitted by President Bush himself last September, the US has also resorted to a number of secret detention facilities part of a “high-value terrorist detainee programme” operated by the CIA. Amnesty International urges the EU to ask for the end of such practices and that the names of those held in such facilities are disclosed.

“What is being asked is basic for democracies that operate under rules: when these are broken something has to be done about it” said Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.

“The EU gains nothing by shying away from these questions, at home as well as abroad. It does not gain the respect of the United States and certainly not that of its citizens”, he added.

For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels)
Tel: +32-2-5482773
Fax: +32-2-5025686

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