Amnesty International Urges the United Kingdom to Establish the Truth about Rights Violations
(Washington, D.C.) – Amnesty International is calling on the United Kingdom to make the full truth known about alleged human rights violations against people held overseas during counter-terrorism operations after it was reported a dozen men are to receive a financial settlement following legal action.
The move to pay compensation follows legal action brought by six former detainees alleging U.K. responsibility for their detention, torture and ill-treatment.
"Financial compensation can be an important part of the right to remedy and reparation for victims of grave human rights violations," said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia program director. "However, it remains only one part."
“The need for full and public disclosure of the truth about human rights violations and the duty of states to hold those responsible to account remains essential and must not be swept aside," said Duckworth.
Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil el Banna, Richard Belmar, Omar Deghayes, Binyam Mohamed and Martin Mubanga had taken legal action against the U.K. authorities. The men were seeking damages over the government’s role in human rights violations they suffered during their rendition to and detention at various locations, including Guantanamo Bay.
Media reports said the government decided to make the payments in order to avoid possible disclosures about the activities of the intelligence services in court cases involving former detainees.
Lawyers acting for the U.K. government have repeatedly sought to prevent disclosure of relevant material, and had argued for closed procedures allowing courts to consider secret material presented by U.K. authorities in closed sessions.
“To date the rights to access justice for these former detainees have been obstructed by persistent efforts on the part of the U.K. government to prevent disclosure of evidence relevant to these allegations," said Duckworth. “A human rights commission of inquiry is needed to establish the truth about what happened."
Amnesty International takes no position on the appropriateness of the particular payments announced in these cases.
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Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.