For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Amanda Simon, 212.633.4162,

Amnesty International USA Calls on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Investigate Chicago 'Black Site'

CHICAGO - Amnesty International USA called on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to investigate allegations published in The Guardian newspaper of a Chicago Police Department facility in Homan Square, including beatings and disappearances of people detained there.

“As the Mayor of Chicago, you have a responsibility under US and international law to ensure that human rights violations are not committed within the city,” wrote Amnesty International USA executive director Steven W. Hawkins.

Amnesty International USA urged Mayor Emanuel to:

  • Open an independent and impartial investigation into the allegations made about human rights violations at the Homan Square facility and make the results public.
  • Allow Amnesty International and other independent human and civil rights organizations and monitors full, unrestricted access to the Homan Square facility.
  • Meet with Amnesty International to discuss additional steps the City of Chicago should take to prevent and end human rights violations, ensure accountability and bring Chicago Police practices into full conformity with international standards.

"As we've seen the world over, from Guantanamo to the Philippines, when detainees are being held in secret, human rights violations inevitably occur. Mayor Emanuel must use all of the tools at his disposal to investigate these claims and ensure the protection of those in detention,” Hawkins said.

The report on the Homan Square facility comes as the City of Chicago continues to fall far short in meeting its obligations under international human rights law to ensure accountability and remedy for torture and ill-treatment by Chicago Police operating under the direction of former Commander Jon Burge from 1972-1991.

Amnesty International USA also reiterated its call on Mayor Emanuel to support the Chicago City Council Ordinance providing Reparations for the Chicago Police Torture Survivors, including full rehabilitation, restitution, compensation and apology.


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Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity. We have more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and we coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.

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