Human rights organisations issue joint statement on ‘shocking’ details of UK complicity in torture and rendition
A number of human rights organisations have issued a joint statement following the publication of two reports yesterday by Westminster’s Intelligence and Security Committee on the UK’s complicity in torture and rendition incidents.
Amnesty International UK, Freedom from Torture, Justice, Rights Watch (UK), Liberty, Redress and Reprieve said that he ISC’s report “has revealed shocking new details of UK complicity in torture and rendition, with UK agencies far more deeply and systemically involved in the US torture and rendition programme than had previously been publicly known”.
The statement added: “However, these revelations only expose the tip of the iceberg. The restrictions under which the committee was working left it unable to access key evidence and get at the full truth – limitations the committee described as ‘regrettable’.”
The statement noted the ISC’s comments that the UK government has left it “unable to conduct an authoritative inquiry” or “produce a credible report”. Its findings, therefore, “must not be taken to be a comprehensive account”, being only “provisional” in nature.
The organisations have called on the Prime Minister to establish an independent inquiry to “get at the full truth” and cited set out “five key tests” necessary for an effective inquiry:
- It should be established under the 2005 Inquiries Act and headed by a judge.
- It should have an independent, judicial mechanism for open proceedings and publication.
- It should have adequate legal powers to hold a full and effective investigation.
- It should be empowered to examine all relevant evidence and cases, including those which have yet to be properly examined, such Abdulhakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar.
- It should ensure meaningful involvement of survivors of torture.
The statement concluded: “With mounting evidence that the UK’s policy on torture is still not working, and evidence from the committee’s report that it’s badly in need of review, the public urgently needs an independent inquiry to ensure that the lessons are learned.”