[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Monday released a report [text, PDF] criticizing some European nations' practice of seeking "no-torture" assurances from other countries in order to remove foreigners. According to the report, the assurances are used to return people to countries with records of human rights abuses. AI described these deals as unreliable and unenforceable, and called for an end to their use. The report was particularly critical of the UK, which for 18 years has used the method to deport people who were considered national security threats. AI described the UK as:
[T]he most influential and aggressive promoter of...the use of diplomatic assurances to forcibly return people it considers threats to national security...The promotion of [this] policy...has occurred at a number of levels: as a matter of domestic policy[,]...at the European Court of Human Rights[,]...and [at] a number of intergovernmental forums[,]...[despite criticism] by the UN Human Rights Committee and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.
A UK government spokesperson responded to the report [BBC report], asserting that the use of "no-torture" agreements is necessary to maintain national security, and stating that the government would not enter into an agreement if it perceived a torture risk. The AI report also criticized several other European nations for using these assurances, including Denmark, Germany, France, and Italy, who continue to do so despite negative rulings [AFP report] on the practice from the European Court of Human Rights [official website].
In March, AI, Human Rights Watch, Liberty, and Reprieve [advocacy websites] joined with members of British parliament in calling for an inquiry [JURIST report] into the UK role in torture [JURIST news archive] and rendition during the war on terror. They called on British officials to conduct a public hearing on the role played by UK intelligence agencies and armed forces in the alleged torture and rendition of terror suspects. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown [official profile; BBC profile] has faced scrutiny over UK procedures amid allegations that British intelligence officials were involved in the torture of former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Binyam Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in Morocco. In February, Reprieve initiated a lawsuit [JURIST report] against the British government, claiming that its unwillingness to disclose detainee policies suggests that it permits illegal torture.