Foreign Minister must investigate US human rights abuses

8 November 2005

Foreign Minister must investigate US human rights abuses

Harry van Bommel is demanding that Minister for Foreign Affairs Ben Bot launch an enquiry into the stream of reports of American human rights abuses. According to a newly broadcast report from Italian television, US troops used white phosphorus and a modern form of napalm in last November's battle for Falluja. Previous revelations have brought to light the targeting of civilians during the bombardment of Falluja, systematic torture in Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay and the existence of an international network of secret prisons where suspected terrorists are interrogated using illegal methods.

During last year's bombardment of Fallujathe Dutch government, in an answer to a question from SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel, denied “that there is any question of violence that is excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage that can be expected to accrue from an attack.”

Harry van BommelAs Mr van Bommel says: “If the new reports from the Italian media are correct, and Mark 77 napalm and white phosphorus have indeed been used, substances which burn people alive, then this is a grave scandal. If this turns out to have happened then it is in clear conflict with humanitarian laws governing the conduct of war.” Earlier reports were denied by the US, but on this occasion the Italian television channel has interviewed American soldiers who have borne reliable witness to the fact that the controversial substances were indeed used.

“Unfortunately we're not talking about the odd rumour,” said Van Bommel, “but what we're seeing is a constant stream of reports of human rights abuses committed by the US. I want Foreign Minister Mr Bot once and for all to take a good look into what's going on. If it turns out that the US is indeed committing systematic human rights abuses, then military and political links with Washington must be frozen and future relations carefully considered. We would certainly not tolerate such behaviour from any other ally and simply carry on with business as usual, let alone continue to intensify our military cooperation.”

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