U.N. human rights chief wants U.S. to abolish CIA secret prisons

Friday, September 8th 2006, 6:48 am
By: News On 6

GENEVA (AP) The top human rights official at the United Nations urged the U.S. to abolish its use of CIA secret prisons for suspected terrorists, her spokesman said Friday.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour “urges that the program of secret detention be abolished,” spokesman Jose Diaz said. “Secret and incommunicado detention in themselves infringe international standards and additionally can create an environment ripe for other abusive conduct.”

Arbour notes, however, that President Bush's announcement of the transfer of 14 suspects to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was “significant” and believes the new, Pentagon-issued Army field manual spelling out appropriate conduct on issues including prisoner interrogation is “an important step,” Diaz said.

However, there is concern that the manual banning for the first time the use of forced nakedness, hooding and other procedures that have been employed in the war on terror fails to extend to CIA operatives.

“The alternative set of 'procedures' that the CIA uses in interrogations is still secret so that one is unable to verify the compliance of those techniques ... with international standards,” Diaz quoted Arbour as saying.