The Violation of Human Rights in the Guantanamo Bay Prison

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There are certain rules under international law which are designed to promote and protect human rights at the international and national level. These set of rules are categorized under the umbrella of International Human rights Law. As states are not bound to follow these and there is no strong central body to monitor, enforce and implement the law this is what is resulting in human rights violations all across the globe. The US who calls itself as the guardian of human rights has a very loose mechanism for implementation of human rights. The situation of Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp is one of the examples.

The relationship of the US with Guantanamo Bay started back when Cuba was declared independent from Spain after the Spanish American War. Guantanamo Bay is situated in the province of Guantanamo in Cuba. The US gained control over the territory under the Lease Agreement of 1903. Initially, the territory was temporarily under US control but now the US has assumed permanent control over the territory through force. The US also pays the lease amount to Cuba annually.

Guantanamo Bay Naval base and Detention Camp are located here and are governed by US authorities. It is the oldest overseas base of the United States. The prison commonly known as detention camp is made here to keep unlawful combatants arrested because of any allegations of terrorist activities. It was formed by George Bush administration in 2002 as a response to the 11th September terrorist attack on Pentagon which is the military center of the US and World Trade Center; the economic hub of USA. It was established to detain the most dangerous people, terrorists and to interrogate and prosecute detainees for war crimes. Interrogations rarely take place in the camp. Most of the detainees caught from all across the world are Muslims under the charges of spreading terrorism and are categorized as the most dangerous people to deal with.

Guantánamo Bay has turned into an image of the United States' way to deal with the War on Terror. The detainment focus is all around known for the human rights infringement submitted there; yet, the universal network has neglected to take activities to effectively close the office through either the utilization of weight on the U.S. government or by using implementation instruments against the United States as it would some other country submitting relative human rights infringement. The identities of the prisoners of this camp were kept hidden initially by the Department of Defence but later the exact number of prisoners was released along with the list of their names. Out of all detainees, Afghans are present in the largest number while people from more than fifty nationalities are also detained there.

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“On July 2, 2008, the New York Times revealed that the U.S. military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 had based an entire interrogation class on a chart copied directly from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist interrogation methodology (commonly referred to as 'brainwashing') that the United States alleged were used during the Korean War to obtain confessions. The chart showed the effects of 'coercive management techniques' for possible use on prisoners”. The detention camp included Camp Delta, Camp Echo, Camp Iguana and Camp X-ray which are now closed. Camp 7, Camp No, Penny Lane, and Camp Justice were formed later and are now in use. Camp 7 is the highest security jail which houses the most dangerous prisoners. Camp No is better known as torture cell due to the intense torture done to people during interrogations here. American criminals are kept in Penny Lane. These are the people who will be later used to spy on terrorist and their organizations. It is the only prison where prisoners get the most privileges due to their being Americans. Camp Justice is kept for trials of criminals.

The National Society for Human Rights, Saudi Arabia in a report titled as Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and Human rights violations stated that “Detainees also suffer slapping, kicking, punching, severe beating on the bottom of the foot, being boxed into a tiny cage, or being put in a cell without warm devices when the temperature is below zero, leading to some diseases such as rheumatism. Other torturing techniques include minimization of amount of food, prevention from getting necessary medical care, cutting the detainee’s hair in a cross-shaped fashion, prevention from cleanliness for prayer, punishment by sitting on cold cement floor with hands above the head for a prolonged period, insulting the Holy Quran by throwing it in the toilet or writing obscene words onto it or stepping on it, leaving footprints on its holy pages, frightening and terrorizing by police dogs, spraying with hot pepper liquid on detainees’ bodies after beating them with sticks and whips, staining faces and heads of some detainees by menstrual blood of female investigators, and deprivation of sleep. Detainees were also prevented from contacting their families except through letters, which the guards at the detention center delay deliberately for the longest period possible. Some detainees were injected with substances whose contents they had no idea about. Some injections anesthetize detainees, others cause them to have fits of hysteric laughter, and some others were wrapped up in the Israeli flags for more humiliation.” The prisoners of Guantanamo Bay detention Camp are treated in the most inhumane ways. They are given unethical punishments and have to experience torture and degrading treatment. One of the most common abuses at the camp in violation of the right of religion. Amnesty International has even termed these violations as Scandal of Human Rights and considered it as a major breach.

Former President of America promised to close the camp but could not gain the support of Congress. The camp is still working and also release prisoners with intervals leaving them mentally ill due to the physical and mental torture that is done in the camp. The current President of America supported the2 camp and aimed to keep it open as it is used to detain 'bad dudes' as what he considers terrorists are and said torture actually works for smooth running of things. There are little and suffocating prisons in Guantanamo Bay. People are treated inhumanely their. Most of the prisoners are even kept there without any accusation or allegation being proved on them. People are captured mainly from foreign soil accused of any terrorist activity or their affiliation with any such organization. They are brought without any proper trial, charge and are denied to access their respective countries. The Violations at the came can be divided into four of the following categories:

  • Illegal and Indefinite DetentionTorture
  • Inhumane Conditions
  • Unfair Treatment

It is a sheer violation of article 5 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) which states that 'No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'. Not just article 5 but Article 3, and 10 are also being violated. The torture is carried out through 'waterboarding, leaving dogs inside a blackened jail, earsplitting music, depriving them of sleep, dousing them with ice water, slamming them into walls and locking them in coffin-like boxes (Pearlman, 2015)”.

“Mohamedou Ould Slahi was a Mauritanian national and the most tortured prisoner in Guantanamo Bay. He was detained for 14 years and wrote a book about his suffering. Mr. Slahi wrote in his book that he was being chained, blindfolded, made to stand for long periods, stripped naked, denied water and subjected to sleep deprivation, loud noise and threats of violence. At times Slahi has to lie and accept false accuse in order to make interrogators happy (Slahi,2017).” The most recent of all violations is force-feeding of detainees on a hunger strike. Support for this notion comes from a number of medical associations, such as the World Medical Association (1991), which declared:

“Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the physician as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially. The decision as to the capacity of the prisoner to form such a judgment should be confirmed by at least one other independent physician.”

Concluding it, the violations of continues at Guantanamo detention Camp. And even the international regimes could not take any firm action against what is going on there. The US still continues to hold detainees illegally. They are neither assured protection under American Laws nor under the International Laws. The international community seems to be silent since day one over this issue. The continuation of such violation is not less than negative propaganda against human rights and disgraceful stain on the champion of Human Rights as what the USA calls itself. Or at least if it has to remain working then there should exist a proper procedure of trials and prisoners should only be kept there if their charge is proved otherwise they should be set free rather then facing illegal detention without even committing the crime.

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