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HRW report on the United Kingdom and “diplomatic assurances”

Human Rights Watch publicou onte un informe sobre dous casos de actualidade no Reino Unido. Trátase da deportación de persoas a países onde estarían en risco de sufrir torturas (nestes casos, Xordania e Alxeria). As autoridades pretenden que as “garantías diplomáticas” son suficientes para salvar ese risco, aínda que no pasado xa se demostrou que esas promesas se incumprían impunemente.

O informe leva por título “Not the Way Forward: The UK’s Dangerous Reliance on Diplomatic Assurances”. Copio un extracto da súa introducción:

In recent years the British government has been trying to deport a number of terrorism and national security suspects to countries in which they face a real risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Because the international ban on torture is absolute and the transfer of any person to a risk of such abuse is therefore illegal, the British government has secured diplomatic assurances from the states to which it is trying to deport the persons that they will not be subjected to mistreatment once they are returned. These assurances, the government claims, are sufficient to reduce or even eliminate the risk of abuse.

Not only does the government of the United Kingdom promote the use of such assurances at home, it has also expended a great deal of time and energy at the regional and international levels attempting to legitimize the use of diplomatic assurances against torture. In recent years, British officials have engaged in vigorous lobbying at the European Union, the Council of Europe, and the United Nations to promote acceptance of diplomatic assurances as a counterterrorism tool.

But the fact is that these assurances do not work. In countries where torture is a serious problem, mere diplomatic promises are insufficient to prevent torture. No matter how detailed such agreements are, they cannot eliminate the very real risk faced by people returned to countries that practice such clandestine, brutal abuse.

Because diplomatic assurances are unenforceable promises, a country that breaches them is unlikely to experience any serious consequences if the assurances are violated. In many instances, moreover, it is practically impossible to ascertain whether a breach has occurred. Because torture is carried out in secret, and victims often do not complain for fear of reprisals against them or their families, the practice is hard to investigate, and easy to deny. Notably, neither the sending state nor the receiving state has any incentive to carry out such investigations seriously. To do so might not only reveal human rights violations, but might complicate efforts to rely on assurances in the future. […]


23 Outubro 2008 - Posted by | Algeria, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Jordan, Politics, United Kingdom

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