By Adam Hudson
While President Obama told the country to “look forward, not backward” when it came to Bush’s torture program, the United Nations has taken a different route. Recently, the UN Human Rights Committeeissued a report excoriating the United States for its human rights violations. It focuses on violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the country is party. The report mentions 25 human rights issues where the United States is failing. This piece will focus on a few of those issues – Guantanamo, NSA surveillance, accountability for Bush-era human rights violations, drone strikes, racism in the prison system, racial profiling, police violence, and criminalization of the homeless.
Accountability for Bush-Era Crimes; Torture
The UN committee expressed concerned with “the limited number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions of members of the Armed Forces and other agents of the US government, including private contractors” for “unlawful killingsin its international operations” and “torture” in CIA black sites during the Bush years. It welcomed the closing of the CIA black sites, but criticized the “meagre number of criminal charges brought against low-level operatives” for abuses carried out under the CIA’s rendition, interrogation and detention program. The committee also found fault with the fact that many details of the CIA’s torture program “remain secret, thereby creating barriers to accountability and redress for victims.”