Britain shamed at UN - again
Committee Against Torture demands action
The United Nations Committee Against Torture is expected to slam
the failure of the British government to implement
recommendations made by the committee three years ago.
British officials appeared this week before the UN's ten member
strong panel of independent human rights experts to defend their
government's record in the Six Counties and Britain. As a
signatory of the eleven year old Convention against Torture, the
British government is obliged to periodically appear before the
In 1995 the committee called for the closure of Castlereagh and
other similar interrogation centres in the Six Counties,
questioned the British government deployment of plastic bullets
and called for the ending of emergency legislation.
On all counts, the British government failed to respond.
Appearing before the committee last Monday, British officials
could only express ``regret'' that their government has been
``unable'' to carry out the wishes of the committee outlined during
Britain's last appearance.
At the hearing the UN committee again questioned the use of seven
day detention orders and called for the closure of interrogation
centres. The panel reiterated calls for the introduction of
audio/video recordings as a safeguard against mistreatment during
interrogations. They again expressed the view that defendants
should be allowed immediate access to a lawyer during
interrogation. The committee also questioned the operation of non
jury Diplock courts.
British officials were specifically asked about the case of Davy
Adams, who sustained serious injuries during a brutal beating in
Castlereagh. The panel also questioned an increase in the use of
plastic bullets within the last three years.
Attending the hearing on behalf of the Six County based Committee
for the Administration of Justice, Paul Mageean said the CAJ felt
that the time for scrapping emergency legislation was well
overdue. He said he hoped that the UN hearing would reinforce
Sinn Fein Assembly member Bairbre de Brun, who attended the UN
hearing in 1995 said, ``there is a new British government but
we're hearing the same old story. ``The Labour Party has been in
government for over eighteen months now. No more excuses, it's
time for the British government to put its house in order.''