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E.U. and U.S. Must Begin New Phase of Transatlantic Relations Based on Respect for Human Rights, Says Amnesty International

BRUSSELS - Transparency, accountability
and respect for international human rights must be the hallmarks of a new
phase of transatlantic relations in the field of justice and home affairs,
says Amnesty International as the E.U. presidency meets U.S. Attorney General
Eric Holder and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
to discuss the fight against terrorism.

In a letter addressed to the Czech Presidency,
Amnesty International urged the European Union (E.U.) to send a strong
signal that it is committed to an approach to fighting terrorism which
is based on the rule of law and respect for international human rights

"Although we have seen some progress, the
reality is that over 240 men remain unlawfully detained at Guantanamo and
hundreds of others languish in U.S. custody in Afghanistan with no means
to challenge their detention," said Nicolas Beger, director of Amnesty
International's E.U. office.

"The United States continues to reserve
the right to use rendition and allow the CIA to hold individuals on a short-term
and transitory basis without a legal framework governing such detentions
being made clear," he added.

"In addition, the E.U. has yet to adequately
address its own role and the responsibilities of member states in renditions
and secret detentions," he said.

Amnesty International calls on the E.U. to
reiterate to its U.S. counterparts that:

*cooperation on closing Guantanamo must go
hand in hand with tackling potentially unlawful detentions, detention conditions
and interrogation techniques elsewhere;
*all individuals detained as part of counterterrorism
operations must have access to effective judicial review, and must be charged
or safely released; and
*the laws of war should not be invoked as
a possible legal basis for detention of individuals outside the context
of an ongoing international armed conflict.

Amnesty International publishes its assessment
of President Obama's first 100 days in office in its report, Mixed
Messages: Obama's First 100 days
, on April 28 at 8 p.m. It will be
available at:



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