Background Briefing


  • The United States must cease use of secret or unacknowledged detention.
  • For those individuals currently detained by or at the direction of the United States, the United States and relevant foreign governments must:

o Make known the names and whereabouts of detainees;

o Provide immediate access by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to all detainees the organization seeks to visit;

o Charge detainees with a recognizable criminal offense and promptly bring them to trial before a court that meets international fair trial standards or release them; and

o Allow detainees access to lawyers and to communicate with family members.

  • The United States must not detain family members of terrorism suspects based on their family relationships.
  • The United States must make known the names, fate, and whereabouts of all individuals it has detained in the “War on Terror,” even if they have been released, transferred to the custody of another state, or are dead.
  • The United States must provide reparations, including compensation, to individuals it has secretly detained.
  • Other governments must not facilitate secret detention: they should not assist or cooperate in secret detention operations, and should disclose information about such operations that comes into their possession.