UN Committee Against Torture Tells the Irish Government to Investigate the State's Role in Renditions

We are pleased to note the recent recommendations from the UN Committee against Torture that Ireland needs to investigate allegations of involvement in rendition programmes and to ensure that these human rights violations will not occur again in Irish airports or airspace. These recommendations were made in the Concluding Observations of the Committee's review of Ireland’s implementation of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This review took place on the 23 and 24 May 2011.

The UN Committee against Torture is comprised of independent experts and is mandated by the United Nations (UN) Convention against Torture to monitor states’ implementation of the Convention. It joins a long list of reputable bodies that have called for Ireland to investigate its role in renditions.

This is the relevant excerpt from the UN report:

Rendition flights

9.    The Committee is concerned at the various reports of the State party’s alleged cooperation in a “rendition programme”, where “rendition flights” use the State party’s airports and airspace. The Committee is also concerned at the inadequate response by the State party to investigate these allegations.  (article 3)

The State party should provide further information on specific measures taken to investigate allegations of the State party’s involvement in “rendition programmes” and the use of the State party’s airports and airspace by flights involved in “extraordinary rendition”. The State party should provide clarification on such measures and the outcome of the investigations, and take steps to ensure that such cases are prevented.

In reacting to the report, Amnesty International said

“We now have a long list of independent bodies stating clearly that Ireland needs to investigate its role in extraordinary renditions. Ireland’s own Human Rights Commission, the Council of Europe and now the UN have called for an investigation. The Taoiseach must announce, without delay, that the legal and policy loopholes, which allowed planes operating in the context of the US-led rendition programme to come through Ireland, will be addressed. Ireland’s role in torture must be investigated,  those who knew but did nothing must be called to account.”

We fully concur with the UN Committee Against Torture, Amnesty and the many others who have said that Ireland's shameful role in torture needs to be investigated.

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