Decade of evasion: Time for EU to confront post-9/11 abuses



Decade of evasion: Time for EU to confront post-9/11 abuses

(Brussels, 7 September 2011) As the world prepares to mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States, Amnesty International has appealed to European Union countries to acknowledge their own abuses of human rights, committed under the so-called ‘War on Terror’.

“Around the globe, people are marking this sombre anniversary by remembering the indiscriminate murder of thousands of people by terrorists. The victims were ultimately not just in New York, Washington or Shanksville. They were also in Baghdad and Madrid, in London and Kabul. But in commemorating these tragedies we should also remember the widespread flouting by European governments of long-held standards of respect for human rights in response to these heinous crimes”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.

“The EU prides itself on not having endorsed US ‘war on terror’ policy in response to 9/11, preferring to tackle terrorism by respecting the rule of law and human rights. But EU countries have been deeply complicit in a programme of torture and illegal detention, which has included hosting secret CIA prisons. National investigations have been deeply disappointing, and a sense of impunity still prevails in EU countries. Yet a decade later, the EU remains silent.”

Amnesty International has praised Poland, the only EU country currently conducting a criminal investigation into allegations of running a secret prison. Two victims of this system, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahmin al-Nashiri, have been formally recognised as victims in the investigation.

Elsewhere, Amnesty International has repeatedly reminded the EU that no member state which allegedly colluded in renditions has fully investigated the involvement of its officials. Governments have been extremely evasive on this issue.

Amnesty International has called on:-

• The Polish EU presidency to lead by example, and insist that unlawful practices committed by EU countries under the ‘war on terror’ campaign appear on the EU's agenda for justice and human rights

• The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee to delay no further its commitment to follow up Parliament’s 2007 report on member states’ complicity in US-led rendition and secret detention programmes

For interviews or further comment, please contact:-

Peter Clarke
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office, Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0)2 548 2773
[email protected]