US violating intl. law at Gitmo, UN says
A detainee is carried by military police after being interrogated by officials at Camp X-Ray at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (File photo)
The United Nations has said that the force-feeding of Guantanamo Bay prisoners is against international law and a violation of human rights.
More than 100 prisoners at the United States’ infamous Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba are staging a hunger strike to protest disrespect of the Holy Qur’an and confiscation of personal items.
"If it's clearly against the will of the people who are being forcibly fed, then in a view of the World Medical Association and indeed our view, this would amount to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment which is not permissible under international law," UN spokesman on human rights Rupert Colville said on Tuesday.
Several hunger-striking prisoners are reportedly in bad shape and could die soon.
On March 11, attorneys for more than a dozen of the prisoners said that the hunger strike was prompted by a series of searches that began on February 6, in which a number of personal items, including books, CDs, blankets, and legal mail, were confiscated.
The US holds about 166 men at the prison. Many of the prisoners started a mass hunger strike in the summer of 2005, but the protest began to lose steam after the military began tying people down and force-feeding them liquid nutrients through tubes to prevent them from starving to death.
On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama reiterated his pledge to close the prison.
At a White House news conference, Obama said, "It's not sustainable -- I mean, the notion that we're going to continue to keep over 100 individuals in a no-man's land in perpetuity."
"I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe," he added.