The Government-led inquiry into alleged British involvement in rendition and torture will be a whitewash, say UK’s human rights groups.
Britain’s leading human rights groups are to boycott the official investigation into the UK’s involvement in torture and rendition in the years after 9/11, grievously undermining the controversial inquiry, reports the Guardian
Nine organisations have announced that they want nothing to do with the parliamentary inquiry by the intelligence and security committee (ISC) into Britain’s alleged role in the ill-treatment of detainees.
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A strongly worded letter to the committee team investigating detainee allegations says that, despite raising concerns with the government more than six months ago over whether its decision to allow the ISC to lead the inquiry was “lawful or appropriate”, their concerns of an establishment cover-up remained unanswered.
The letter, obtained by the Observer, says the coalition of groups – including Reprieve, Amnesty International and Liberty – have lost all trust in the committee’s ability to uncover the truth. “Consequently, we as a collective of domestic and international non-governmental organisations do not propose to play a substantive role in the conduct of this inquiry,” the letter states.
Other signatories of the letter include Cage, Rights Watch UK, Freedom From Torture, Redress, Justice and the legal charity the Aire Centre. Their anger follows assurances by David Cameron that the inquiry into whether MI5 and MI6 were actively involved in the secret rendition and torture of UK citizens and residents would be headed by a senior judge.
When the coalition government came to power, Cameron told MPs that no other arrangement would command public confidence, and vehemently rejected suggestions that the ISC should conduct the investigation. He said that only a “judge-led inquiry” could “get to the bottom of the case”.
The human rights groups refusal to take part in the investigation stems from the UK governments decision to hand the whole inquiry to the ISC rather than having it run by an independent judge, which, they say, is tantamount to an establishment cover-up.