Fighting terrorism with torture


Human Rights Watch released a new report today documenting the widespread and growing practice of Western governments “outsourcing” torture. It’s about time. The report shows that it’s not just the U.S. that has been expanding the practice, known as “extraordinary rendition”: Canada, Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany have all been implicated as well.

It’s no surprise, then, that the UN Commission on Human Rights has proposed the creation of a special rapporteur to monitor “counterterrorism laws and practices for their compatibility with human rights, act to prevent human rights violations arising from counterterrorism measures and provide technical assistance to states.” It’s also no surprise that a small number of states, led by China, Russia, and the U.S. are trying to block the move. Particularly amusing is China’s argument that it is “too early” to establish a position like this. Too early? Well, it’s true. There are probably a lot more people that could be outsourced and tortured before that pesky UN gets involved.

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