The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150,

Amnesty International, Responding to Secretary Clinton's Human Rights Address, Urges Accountability at Home

Says Administration Should Appoint Commission To Probe Post-9-11 Counterterrorism Policies


Amnesty International
USA Executive Director Larry Cox issued the following statement in response
to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's address today at Georgetown University
outlining the Obama administration's human rights agenda for the 21st

"Secretary Clinton rightly identifies
accountability as the centerpiece of any successful human rights agenda
for the United States. But if the administration means what it says,
then it needs to follow through and back up rhetoric with actions. Discussion
of human rights can't be an empty rebranding exercise.

The president should appoint a bipartisan
commission to investigate the abuses connected to counterterrorism policies
since September 11, 2001. The administration must adhere to executive
orders already in effect and close the prison at Guantanamo and abide by
international legal commitments to end torture.

The administration can't insist that other
countries adhere to human rights protections while continuing to detain
people outside the rule of law at home. The administration should
bring charges against Guantanamo detainees who can legitimately be charged
with a crime, and release the rest without further delay. To date,
more than 100 individuals have already been cleared for release but remain
unjustly detained in Guantanamo.

In his Nobel Prize speech in Oslo, President
Obama stated that "no nation can insist that others follow the rules
of the road if we are not willing to follow those rules ourselves."

Amnesty International commends the administration
for signaling that it intends to engage closely on human rights. This is
welcome progress.

It should carry this message forward through
measurable progress at home. Taking these steps would further enhance national
security. This means prioritizing accountability for torture, fully
implementing already ratified human rights treaties, and signaling strong
support for those human rights treaties not yet ratified, reconstituting
an Interagency Working Group on Human Rights, creating an independent,
nonpartisan National Human Rights Commission, and issuing a comprehensive
Executive Order on Human Rights."

Amnesty International is a global movement of millions of people demanding human rights for all people - no matter who they are or where they are. We are the world's largest grassroots human rights organization.

(212) 807-8400