I was crushed when I skimmed through the UN Human Rights Council’s Advance Version of the Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Given all that’s going on, I expected there to be volumes about the United States, not just a few pages, and I expected the observations to be sweeping … painting our many malignancies in vivid colors, with a broad brush.
Instead, there was just a few pages, addressing the following [http://static.guim.co.uk/ni/1425873116713/Mendez-report.pdf]:
- JUA 03/12/2013 Case No. USA 19/2013 State Reply: 19/12/2013 Allegations concerning the situation of Mr. Askari Abdullah Muhammad, 62, death row prisoner since 1975, who suffers from a serious mental illness. Mr. Abdullah Muhammad is reportedly at risk of being executed in the state of Florida, United States of America.
- JUA 05/12/2013 Case No. USA 20/2013 State Reply: 05/12/2013 Allegations concerning the situation of Mr. Djamel Ameziane, born in 1967, ethnic Berber from Algeria who fled Algeria in early 1990s and unsuccessfully sought asylum in Austria and Canada before he was reportedly detained in Pakistan and transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Mr. Ameziane is at risk of being forcibly transferred to Algeria where it is feared that he will be subjected to torture and ill-treatment. Mr. Ameziane is currently seeking resettlement in a safe third country.
- JAL 20/12/2013 Case No. USA 21/2013 State Reply: None to date Allegations concerning a lethal air strike in the Republic of Yemen on 12 December 2013, allegedly involving the use of armed drones belonging to the authorities of the United States of America.
- UA 10/01/2014 Case No. USA 1/2014 State Reply: None to date Allegations concerning the case of Mr. Kenny Zulu Whitmore, who has been held in a solitary confinement for 35 years (of which 27 consecutive years) in the maximum security Louisiana State Prison (LSP, also known as Angola), in the United States of America.
- JUA 10/07/2014 Case No. USA 11/2014 State Reply: 07/01/2015 Allegations of arbitrary, incommunicado detention and possible disappearance of Mr. Sharif Mobley, a U.S. citizen apprehended upon suspicion of involvement in “terrorist activities”.
- UA 31/07/2014 Case No. USA 12/2014 State Reply: None to date Allegations concerning the situation of seven non-Afghan nationals in U.S. military custody at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, who are at risk of being forcibly transferred to the custody of other States where they may be tortured, ill-treated, or summarily executed.
- JAL 04/08/2014 Case No. USA 13/2014 State Reply: None to date Allegations concerning the execution of Mr. Clayton Lockett which was carried out at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, on 29 April 2014, and which caused pain and suffering to the condemned.
While I’m happy that some issues and specific persons got some overdue attention, it took more than a day to get the right song in my head to be at peace with the rest of the messes being addressed at a later date, especially since the U.S. responses to the Special Rapporteur fell far short of “shining the light of democracy.”
So I did fall apart, as I suspect most of the report’s readers did.
Hopefully there’ll be more room in all of our broken hearts, so we’ll all be willing to play the game until it comes around again.