For many years, the US government has said it respects, protects, and promotes human rights here at home and all over the world. However, the US admitted to the UN Committee on Torture that after 9/11, abuses had occurred during the “War on Terror.”
The US legal adviser Mary McLeod spoke to the ten member committee saying, according to the Raw Story, “In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, we regrettably did not always live up to our own values… we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that.”
After this, the committee began to ask the 30 top US officials present for the hearing, various questions regarding how the US planned to amend and atone for these acknowledged abuses.
Some of these questions revolved around Guantanamo Bay. The committee asked the US delegates why the prison was still open after saying it would be closed and when the US government plans on shutting down the prison for good.
The delegates were also questioned on the Abu Ghraib prison incident and the lack of redress for the victims.
McLeod responded by saying, according to ABC News, “As President Obama has acknowledged, we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that… The United States has taken important steps to ensure adherence to its legal obligations.”
Amnesty International previously submitted evidence of human rights abuses to the UN Committee on Torture, outlining various violations US personnel are responsible for. The method of water-boarding and secret detention of captives were two methods mentioned on this list.
From here, the UN questions moved from international torture to torture at home.
They questioned the delegates how the government justifies the detention of non-violent, non-criminal illegal immigrants, specifically children. The disproportionate levels of police brutality in cases involving minorities were also brought into question.
The committee plans to publish its conclusions concerning torture and the US government on November 28.