Secret detention violates human rights and should be banned, say UN experts

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 03 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c673
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

    United Nations human rights experts have called for an end to the use of secret detention in connection with counterterrorism activities, including during states of emergency and in armed conflict.

    Their study on secret detentions in 66 nations found that detainees were often tortured and in some instances were examined by medical doctors, who allowed the abuses to continue.

    Secret detention and related activities—including so called “proxy detention” and “rendition” or “extraordinary rendition”—have increased in numerous states over the nine years since 11 September 2001, say two independent UN experts on counterterrorism and torture and two UN expert bodies on arbitrary detention and enforced or involuntary disappearances.

    Violations carried out during secret detention breach international humanitarian law and the practice should be prohibited, they say in a report.

    “If resorted to in a widespread or systematic manner, …

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