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United States: Committee against Torture Denounces U.S. Practices

The United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) issued a strong critique of the United States' record on torture, which included calling for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. The Committee is the first international body to hold the Bush administration accountable for its torture record since the fight against terrorism began.

Human Rights Watch provided the Committee with research and information demonstrating that, despite the U.S. government's continued claims to the contrary, it clearly engages in a number of practices that violate its CAT treaty obligations. We highlighted in particular the incommunicado detention of detainees in secret prisons, the failure to hold U.S. personnel accountable up the chain of command for abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rendition of detainees to countries with known records of torture.

Prior to and during the CAT hearings, Human Rights Watch met with Committee members to present our findings and respond to Committee members' questions. Encouraged by the Committee's firm censure of the United States, we will press the Bush administration to review the Committee's conclusions and institute its recommendations.

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