Azara Blog: Rice says US will not torture people

Blog home page | Blog archive

Google   Bookmark and Share

Date published: 2005/12/07

The BBC says:

The US secretary of state says the UN treaty on torture applies to American interrogators in the US and overseas, in an apparent shift in US policy.

The Bush administration has previously said the convention which bans cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment does not apply to US personnel abroad.

Correspondents say a reason for the shift might be pressure from Congress.

Condoleezza Rice's European tour has been dogged by claims the CIA used foreign bases to hold terror suspects.

The UN high commissioner for human rights has called on the US to provide information about any secret detention centres and to provide access to them.

Louise Arbour said such detention centres could create conditions where torture might be used, but she welcomed Ms Rice's statement.

Ms Rice said the US was bound by the UN Convention against Torture (CAT).

It "extends to US personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the US or outside the US," Ms Rice said in Ukraine.

Her comments appear to contrast with the US Attorney-General, Alberto Gonzales, who said last year the convention did not apply to US interrogations of foreigners overseas.

US officials travelling with Ms Rice were quoted by Reuters news agency as saying it represented a marked shift in US policy.

But, according to AFP news agency, one aide to Ms Rice said her remarks were "a clarification of policy, not a shift".

The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says Ms Rice's comments signal an important change in US policy on the use of harsh methods of interrogation - and an apparent softening of the White House position.

The White House has allowed the CIA to use practices such as mock drowning of prisoners, which would almost certainly be considered unacceptable under the terms of the convention, our correspondent says.

Well good to see the US administration now says it opposes torture by US government employees. Does anyone believe them that it will now stop? And unfortunately the US is still handing over people it has kidnapped to other governments to torture.

All material not included from other sources is copyright For further information or questions email: info [at] cambridge2000 [dot] com (replace "[at]" with "@" and "[dot]" with ".").