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Detainees and Other U.S. Post 9/11 Policies

U.S.: Soldiers Tell of Detainee Abuse in Iraq
Abusive Techniques Were Authorized, Soldiers’ Complaints Ignored
Torture and other abuses against detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq were authorized and routine, even after the 2004 Abu Ghraib scandal, according to new accounts from soldiers in a Human Rights Watch report released today. The new report, containing first-hand accounts by U.S. military personnel interviewed by Human Rights Watch, details detainee abuses at an off-limits facility at Baghdad airport and at other detention centers throughout Iraq.
July 23, 2006    Press Release
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Human Rights Watch Statement to the Human Rights Committee
During its Consideration of the Second and Third Periodic Reports of the United States
During its consideration of the Second and Third Periodic Reports of the United States, Human Rights Watch would like to draw the Committee’s attention to three subjects: treatment of detainees, rendition to torture and diplomatic assurances, and the death penalty and life without parole sentencing of child offenders.
July 13, 2006    Testimony
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Human Rights Watch Submission to the Human Rights Committee
Human Rights Watch Supplemental Submission to the Human Rights Committee During its Consideration of the Second and Third Periodic Reports of the United States
In January 2006, Human Rights Watch submitted a list of issues for the Human Rights Committee’s reference while posing questions to the United States about its adherence to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the “ICCPR”). Since that submission, the United States has enacted or begun to undertake new laws, policies, and practices that reflect the continuing failure of the U.S. to fulfill its obligations under the ICCPR. Oulined here are some of those developments, as well as some additional issues that HRW believes are central to the Committee’s work.
July 12, 2006    Press Release
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U.S.: Pentagon Applies Geneva Rules to Detainees
Those in CIA Custody Must Also Be Covered
The Bush administration’s belated decision to recognize the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to terrorism suspects in military custody is a step forward, Human Rights Watch said today. But because the Pentagon memorandum that codifies the change does not extend to detainees held by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), it represents only partial compliance with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.
July 11, 2006    Press Release
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Questions and Answers on Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision soon in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. The following Questions & Answers can help observers understand the case.
June 23, 2006    Special Focus
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U.N. Torture Committee Critical of U.S.
(Geneva, May 19, 2006) The United Nations Committee against Torture today issued a strong and thorough critique of the U.S. record on torture. Human Rights Watch urged the United States to adopt the committee’s recommendations.
May 19, 2006    Press Release
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U.S. Fails to Comply With Ban on Torture
U.N. Committee Challenges U.S. on Treaty Obligations
A high-level U.S. delegation’s exchange with the U.N. Committee against Torture reveals that the United States is failing to meet its international obligations to end torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, Human Rights Watch said today. The committee is expected to issue its conclusions and recommendations on U.S. practices by the end of this week.
May 17, 2006    Press Release
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U.S.: Bush Should Close Guantanamo Now
President George W. Bush should shut the Guantanamo Bay detention facility now and not wait for a Supreme Court ruling.
May 9, 2006    Press Release
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Questions and Answers: United States Before the Committee Against Torture
For the first time since the Bush administration launched its global campaign against terrorism, the United States this week will answer internationally for its record on torture. On May 5 and May 8, the United Nation’s Committee Against Torture will question some 30 high-level officials from the Departments of State, Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense on U.S. compliance with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
May 4, 2006    Special Focus
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Human Rights Watch Supplemental Submission to the Committee Against Torture
During its Consideration of the Second Periodic Report of the United States
In August 2005, Human Rights Watch submitted a list of questions for the Committee to inquire of the United States. Since our last submission, the United States has enacted or begun to undertake new laws, policies, and practices that reflect the continuing failure of the U.S. to fully accept its obligations under the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. We outline here some of those developments, and hope the Committee will consider these matters as well. We also wish to apprise the Committee of relevant new research that Human Rights Watch has completed since our last submission.
May 4, 2006    Testimony
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By the Numbers
Findings of the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project
This 27-page report presents findings of the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project, a joint project of New York University’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First. The project is the first comprehensive accounting of credible allegations of torture and abuse in U.S. custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo.
HRW Index No.: G1802
April 26, 2006    Report
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HRW Statement on Jose Padilla Case
Today, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case of Jose Padilla, the U.S. citizen picked up on U.S. soil and held as an enemy combatant for more than three years without charge and without an opportunity to defend himself. The Supreme Court’s refusal to address this case on the merits means that the Bush administration’s assertion that it can unilaterally and indefinitely detain without charge anyone, anywhere, on the grounds that they are an “enemy combatant” remains unchecked.
April 24, 2006    Special Focus
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U.S.: Rumsfeld Potentially Liable for Torture
Defense Secretary Allegedly Involved in Abusive Interrogation
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld could be criminally liable for the torture of a detainee at Guantanamo Bay in late 2002 and early 2003, Human Rights Watch said today.
April 14, 2006    Press Release
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Open Letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
More than 100 professors of law and legal studies sent an open letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales today, criticizing his failure to condemn as illegal a number of abusive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, exposure of detainees to extreme temperatures, forced standing, binding in stress positions, and severe sleep deprivation. The letter, whose signatories included several former government attorneys, asks Gonzales to issue a clear public statement regarding the humane treatment of detainees overseas, and to clarify that abuses such as waterboarding are subject to prosecution as crimes.
April 6, 2006    Letter
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Who's Really Locked up in Guantanamo?
Last week, under court order, the Pentagon released the transcripts of several hundred hearings held to decide whether Guantanamo prisoners were in fact "enemy combatants." Classified evidence was deleted, but what emerges is how insignificant most of these prisoners are.
March 16, 2006    Commentary
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Statement of Human Rights Watch to the United Nations Human Rights Committee
United States Compliance with the ICCPR
Jennifer Daskal, advocacy director, U.S. Program, comments on the United States' Compliance with the ICCPR ito the United Nations Human Rights Committee on March 13, 2006.
March 14, 2006    Testimony
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Brief of Amicus Curiae International Human Rights Organizations
Supreme Court of the United States, January 6, 2006
The detention and military commission systems created by the Executive to hold and try persons seized in the “war on terror” and implemented at the United States Naval Station in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (“Guantánamo”) violate the well-established norms of international humanitarian law embodied in binding treaties and customary international law. The 1949 Geneva Conventions afford persons held in military custody individual primary rights that are enforceable under the Supremacy Clause and by means of a writ of habeas corpus. These well-established protections are also independently enforceable in federal court as binding rules of customary international humanitarian law. The United States has misguidedly departed from these fundamental guarantees.
January 6, 2006    Amicus Briefs

Preventing Abuse of Material Witness Detentions
S.1739 and Companion Legislation in the House of Representatives
The misuse of the material witness warrant statute to indefinitely detain individuals without charge threatens all of our liberties. The pending legislation is a step forward – one that is critical to protecting our liberties against future abuse.
January 3, 2006    Special Focus
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U.S. Operated Secret ‘Dark Prison’ in Kabul
Accounts from detainees at Guantánamo reveal that the United States as recently as last year operated a secret prison in Afghanistan where detainees were subjected to torture and other mistreatment.
December 19, 2005    Press Release
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U.S.: Landmark Torture Ban Undercut
Congress Would Allow Evidence Obtained by Torture
Even as the U.S. Congress has passed a prohibition against the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, it is set to adopt legislation that would strip the judiciary’s ability to enforce the ban, Human Rights Watch warned today.
December 16, 2005    Press Release
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Children
Criminal Sentencing and Re-Entry Policy
Death Penalty
Discrimination Against Gays & Lesbians
Immigration/Treatment of Non-Citizens
Labor Rights
Police Brutality
Prison Conditions
Racism & Discrimination
Women's Rights
Detentions and Other U.S. Post 9/11 Policies
Guantanamo Detainees
Military Commissions
Torture / Mistreatment



Related Materials:

The September 11 Detainees: A Review of the Treatment of Aliens Held on Immigration Charges in Connection with the Investigation of the September 11 Attacks (June 2003)
This report by the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General confirms abuses reported by Human Rights Watch, including prolonged detention without charge, denial of access to legal counsel, and excessively harsh conditions of confinement.

Supplemental Report on September 11 Detainees' Allegations of Abuse at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York (December 2003)
Additional report by the Office of the Inspector General focusing on conditions of confinement and other issues related to the MDC Detention Center in New York.


Overview of Human Rights Developments

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