Security with Human Rights
For governments across the world, the threat of terror has become an excuse for injustice, brutality and a complete disregard for human rights.
While governments should of course protect citizens from the threat of terrorism, this threat should never be used to justify the violation of human rights or to repress legitimate opposition and dissent.
Our Security with Human Rights campaign calls for an end to human rights violations perpetrated by governments in the name of national security, and insists that those responsible must be held accountable. Find out more:
Bring Shaker home from Guantánamo
When Shaker Aamer was detained by Afghan forces in November 2001 he was a healthy man in his early 30s who lived with his wife and four children in Britain. Shaker is now 44-years-old and has spent nearly 11 years behind bars at the notorious prison camp in Guantánamo Bay. He is riddled with arthritis and other health issues, the result - he and his lawyers claim - of years of brutal torture and solitary confinement, as well as inadequate medical care. He has endured all of this despite being cleared for release in 2007 and never being charged, tried or convicted of any criminal offence.
On taking office in 2009 President Obama pledged to close Guantánamo by 2010. But it is now 2013 - eleven years since the first prisoners were first transferred to the prison cam - and the world is still living with this insult to justice. It's time for Obama to come good on his promise.
The Detainee Inquiry, chaired by Sir Peter Gibson, was commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron in July 2010. The same Government announced that the Inquiry would be scrapped in January 2012, following further investigations by the Metropolitan Police into allegations of British officials assisting with rendition.
The Inquiry was never fit for purpose (read why). We await with interest the report by the Inquiry on its work to date, and hope the Government takes the opportunity to launch an investigation that is fully human rights-compliant.
- Press release: Gibson Detainee Inquiry 'was never fit for purpose'
- Blog post: "It's all about the use of torture..."
Secret evidence and closed courts in the UK
In October 2011, the British Ministry of Justice published a Justice and Security Green Paper outlining various proposals to change the UK judicial system, increasing the use of secret evidence and closed court hearings when courts are considering issues the Government claims are 'sensitive'.
We have submitted a response to the consultation which details our serious concerns about the proposals. that the proposals will make it harder for victims of human rights abuses, such as the British nationals and residents who were detained in Guantanamo Bay, to find about the truth about what happened to them and to seek redress. The proposals also undermine basic principles which form part of the right to a fair trial such as the right to open justice and the right to see and test the evidence against you.
Former Guantánamo detainee Omar DeghayesFormer Guantánamo prisoner Omar Deghayes sends a message of thanks to all those that sent him letters of solidarity while he was in detention.
Video courtesy of Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo