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April 7, 2013

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: close Guantanamo Bay

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: close Guantanamo Bay

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Navi Pillay in 2009
Image: Antônio Cruz (Agência Brasil).

Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the United States Friday to close its prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. She argued the continuing indefinite detention without trial violates international law.

“We must be clear about this: the United States is in clear breach not just of its own commitments but also of international laws and standards that it is obliged to uphold”, Pillay stated.

Pillay said those held in Guantanamo Bay should face a civilian trial rather than a military tribunal, as the latter “do not meet international fair trial standards”. The US has only criminally charged or convicted nine current detainees.

Detainees arriving at Camp X-Ray, the forerunner to the current detainment regime, in January 2002.
Image: Shane T. McCoy, U.S. Navy.

The Guantanamo Bay camp was opened in January 2002 by former US President George W. Bush and currently holds 166 detainees. As of last month, 31 of the detainees were on hunger strike and eleven were being force fed, according to a US Department of Defense (DoD) spokesperson. Of the hunger strikers, Pillay said: “given the uncertainty and anxieties surrounding their prolonged and apparently indefinite detention in Guantanamo, it is scarcely surprising that people’s frustrations boil over and they resort to such desperate measures”.

President Barack Obama pledged to close Guantanamo Bay but has thus far failed to do so. The US has cleared transfer of around half of the remaining Guantanamo Bay detainees to their home country or to a third country. Pillay urged those transfers to be acted on: “As a first step, those who have been cleared for release must be released.”

Responding to the statement by Pillay, Lieutenant Colonel Todd Breasseale, a DoD spokesman, defended the camp in a statement to Reuters: “We continue to hold detainees under the internationally recognized Law of War and in keeping with the best of our core values, safeguarding and humanely treating all who are in our care and custody, there. Assertions that present some alternate narrative simply do not withstand intellectual rigor”.



Related news

  • “Obama’s suspension of Guantanamo repatriations criticized” — Wikinews, January 7, 2010
  • UN: Guantanamo Bay should be closed” — Wikinews, May 19, 2006
  • “UN calls for Guantanamo shutdown” — Wikinews, February 16, 2006
  • Guantanamo prisoners stage hunger strike” — Wikinews, September 2, 2005
  • “Amnesty International calls for Guantanamo shutdown” — Wikinews, May 25, 2005

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

April 4, 2013

Uruguay Senate gives green light for same-sex marriage

Uruguay Senate gives green light for same-sex marriage

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

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The Senate in Uruguay voted 23–8 on Tuesday to legalise same-sex marriage following approval from the country’s lower house in December. The proposed law will need to go back to the lower house for consideration of amendments. Jose Mujica, the country’s president, has said that he will sign it.

Rafael Michelini, a senator that supports the legal change, described passing same-sex marriage legislation as a matter of liberty and justice: “Liberty because the state should not meddle in who you should marry; of justice because if you marry abroad with someone of the same sex and later return to Uruguay, your marriage should be recognised.”

As well as legalising marriage for same-sex partners, the bill sets a minimum age for marriage at 16 which will apply to both same-sex and heterosexual marriages. This represents a change from the current law where the minimum age for boys to get married is 14, while the minimum age for girls to get married is 12. In addition, the legislation will also change the rules on in-vitro fertilisation and adoption.

Uruguay already has civil union legislation, legal same-sex adoption and allows gay people to serve openly in the military. The introduction of same-sex marriage in Uruguay is opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, but the influence of the Church in Uruguay is limited.



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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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