Council of Europe delivers hard-hitting judgement against US

26 April 2005

Council of Europe delivers hard-hitting judgement against US

Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) today delivered an unusually harsh and almost unanimous judgement against the US. The declaration concerned its treatment of prisoners of the war against terrorism.

Meeting in Strasbourg, the Assembly asserted that “the government of the United States has betrayed its own highest principles ... breaking international law, particularly as it relates to human rights and humanitarian law.”

Delegates from every country and political group denounced the American prison camp in Guantanamo, Cuba, where hundreds of people from more than thirty countries have been deprived not only of their freedom but of their basic rights, suffering humiliation and in some cases torture.

Dutch Labour Party Senator Erik Jurgens won support for his motion to invite members of the US Congress to discuss the issue. His Senate colleague, Socialist Party representative Tiny Kox asked PACE members to take the debate to back to their national parliaments in order to maintain and increase pressure on the American government.

The Assembly declared that the US violation of international law was incompatible with the duties attendant upon her status as an official Observer at the Council of Europe. Another such Observer, Canada, joined PACE members in their hard-hitting criticism.

It was decided that the Assembly would return to the question after keeping an eye on developments over the next six months.

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