A United Nations human rights investigator claimed on Monday that detainees at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay are subjected “to ongoing cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment under international law.”
Irish investigator Fionnuala Ni Aolain released her findings in a 23-page report she turned in to the U.N. Human Rights Council. She was the first investigator that has been allowed to visit the facility, which opened in 2002.
According to Ni Aolain, the 2001 attacks carried out in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania are “crimes against humanity” and the Biden administration is leading an example in opening up Guantanamo to “address the hardest human rights issues.”
The special investigator expressed “serious concerns” about the detention of the 30 men currently in Guantanamo. According to Ni Aolain, the men suffer severe insecurity, anxiety, and psychological distress, in addition to being given inadequate health care.
“I observed that after two decades of custody, the suffering of those detained is profound, and it’s ongoing,” she said. “Every single detainee I met with lives with the unrelenting harms that follow from systematic practices of rendition, torture, and arbitrary detention. ”
She further claimed that the treatment that some of the prisoners are receiving “may also meet the legal threshold for torture.” She claimed that the treatment of those facing criminal charges at Guantanamo is “the single most significant barrier to fulfilling victims’ rights to justice and accountability.”
During her visit, Ni Aolain met with the 34 prisoners who were there in February, which include several of the men accused of plotting the September 11 attacks and former CIA detainees, as well as their families.
The Biden administration responded to Ni Aolain’s report by issuing a one-page defense saying that the special investigator’s findings are “solely her own” and that it “disagrees in significant respects with many factual and legal assertions” made in the report.