The first UN investigator allowed inside the notorious US prison at Guantanamo Bay said the 30 remaining detainees in the facility are facing “ongoing cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law.”
UN special rapporteur Fionnuala Ni Aolain issued a report on the facility and told reporters in New York that “significant improvements” have been made in Gitmo since torture at the prison was exposed but said the 30 men who remain are living with their past experiences.
“I observed that after two decades of custody, the suffering of those detained is profound, and it’s ongoing,” she said. “Every single detainee I met with lives with the unrelenting harms that follow from systematic practices of rendition, torture, and arbitrary detention.”
Ni Aolain said their “past experiences of torture live with them in the present without any obvious end in sight, including because they have not received any adequate torture rehabilitation to date.” According to AP, she said the 30 men still face harsh treatment, including constant surveillance, forced removal from their cells, and the unjust use of restraints.
Ni Aolain made several recommendations, including the shuttering of the facility. She said the US government must apologize for torturing the detainees and provide reparations. “The US government must urgently provide judicial resolution, apology, and guarantees of non-repetition,” Ni Aolain said.
Monday marked the UN observance of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The State Department issued a statement that said the US “reaffirms our condemnation of torture wherever and whenever it occurs and stands in solidarity with victims and survivors of torture around the world.”
The statement comes as the Biden administration is seeking the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for his role in exposing US war crimes. Assange has been held in London’s Belmarsh prison on no charges since April 2019. Nils Melzer, a Swiss professor who served as a UN special rapporteur on torture from 2016-2022, determined that Assange’s treatment amounts to prolonged psychological torture.