The UN sends a human rights expert to Guantánamo, a first

This is a first after two decades of requests. This Wednesday, the UN announced that a human rights expert would visit the American military prison of Guantánamo in the coming days. The special rapporteur on human rights and the fight against terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, will make a “technical visit” to the United States from February 6, the UN said in a press release.

From February 6 to 14, this Irish expert, mandated by the Human Rights Council, but who does not speak on behalf of the UN, will travel to Washington and then to the detention center at the American military base at Guantánamo Bay. The expert will issue a statement, including conclusions and recommendations, at the end of the visit. On March 15, 2022, she announced that she had received a preliminary invitation from Washington to organize a technical visit.

Accusations of unlawful detention and torture

During the three months following his visit, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin will conduct a series of interviews with various people in the United States and abroad, on a voluntary basis, including victims and families of victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 and former Guantánamo detainees. Independent UN human rights experts have sought access to this military prison in southeastern Cuba since it was opened in 2002 to detainees from the US-led “war on terror” in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Having become a thorn in the side of Washington, accused of illegal detention, human rights violations and torture, the prison has counted up to nearly 800 “powners of war”, most of them incarcerated despite flimsy evidence of their involvement. Today there are only about forty left.

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