The U.S. recently denied U.N. officials access to information on conditions at Guantanamo Bay and other overseas detention facilities. It was the latest in a series of refusals by the Obama administration to allow international human rights organizations to probe Bush-era practices. Administration officials insist, however, that they have not formally closed the door on visits to Gitmo.
The Washington Post:
The Obama administration has declined requests from U.N. human rights investigators for information on secret prisons and for private interviews with inmates at the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, U.N. officials said, dampening their hopes of greater U.S. cooperation on human rights issues.
The rebuffs are the latest instances of the U.S. government resisting international human rights organizations’ efforts to learn about Bush administration practices. In June, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton turned down a request from the top U.N. anti-torture official for a meeting in Washington to discuss practices at secret CIA detention centers and at Guantanamo Bay, despite the administration’s avowed commitment to being open to greater scrutiny by the United Nations.
Two U.N. human rights researchers, Martin Scheinin and Manfred Nowak, separately requested visits to the Guantanamo Bay facility in recent months and were turned down. “They said, ‘We are trying to close down the institution. For the time being, we don’t see it as a priority,’ ” Scheinin said U.S. officials told him. “It was not a ‘no, no.’ It was a diplomatic ‘no.’ Let’s say dialogue will continue.”