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Human rights must be on agenda with Clinton - Amnesty

Amnesty International has urged the New Zealand Government to raise human rights and counter-terrorism policies with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to New Zealand.The government should use the opportunity of the visit and growing N

NBR staff
Thu, 14 Jan 2010

Amnesty International has urged the New Zealand Government to raise human rights and counter-terrorism policies with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to New Zealand.

The government should use the opportunity of the visit and growing NZ-US relations to raise the US’ legal obligations to uphold human rights and international humanitarian law, according to Amnesty New Zealand chief executive Patrick Holmes.

“Almost a year after President Obama took office, abuses such as torture, enforced disappearances and indefinite detentions – that were a feature of the former administration’s “War on Terror” have yet to redress.”

At a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister John Key mentioned Afghanistan as one of the topics of conversation planned with Secretary Clinton, although he was not specific about any outcomes.

He said the New Zealand government would like its troops to withdraw from Afghanistan within the next 18 months to two years.

Amnesty wants New Zealand to offer international protection to Guantanamo Bay detainees who would be at risk of torture if they returned to their home countries.

“These men remain detained for the sole reason that they have no safe place to go. New Zealand can contribute to a safe, just and lawful resolution to the Guantanamo detentions by accepting one or more detainee,” Mr Holmes said.

“Afghanistan, and New Zealand’s involvement there, is also up for discussion and will provide an opportunity for both countries to commit to upholding international human rights and humanitarian law.

“New Zealand and the US must ensure that their human rights commitments transpire into practical realities – and are not simply an empty rebranding exercise.”

Amnesty’s calls for US compliance with international law and standards includes:

• Immediately releasing the 116 Guantanamo detainees already cleared for release, but who remain unfairly detained;

• Bringing to justice in fair trials those accused of involvement in the September 11 and other attacks, including the attempted Christmas Day bombing by Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

• Ensuring an independent commission of inquiry is set up to investigate the USA’s own detention and interrogation policies and practices since 11 September 2001.

NBR staff
Thu, 14 Jan 2010
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Human rights must be on agenda with Clinton - Amnesty
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