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Boycott of official inquiry into British government's involvement in torture and rendition

10 November 2014

The AIRE Centre, along with Amnesty International, Cage, Freedom from Torture, Justice, Liberty, REDRESS, Reprieve & Rights Watch UK, have submitted a joint letter raising concerns about the role of the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) in the official inquiry into the British government’s involvement in the secret rendition and torture of UK citizens and residents, following the events of 9/11.

The minimum requirements for a proper inquiry include the need for transparency, impartiality and independence, in addition to effective engagement with the detainees and their families. Our submissions called for a judge-led inquiry and highlighted the fact that as the Prime Minister holds an absolute veto over the ISC membership, the evidence which it is allowed to examine, and the information which it is allowed to publish, the ISC, by its very design, cannot be independent.  

We are disappointed that despite assurances from Prime Minister David Cameron that the inquiry should be “fully independent of Parliament, party and Government” in order “to get to the bottom of the case”, this has not been followed through.

We have consistently offered support and expertise on how the Government could ensure a fully rights-compliant process for accountability. As a group, our concerns are founded on the international commitment to the absolute prohibition on torture and other protections, including effective redress, afforded detainees by international human rights standards. 

On behalf of The AIRE Centre, Director Matthew Evans, states "The AIRE Centre remains unconvinced by government arguments that the ISC is either credible or capable of investigating the role of the UK in rendition and torture".  

We submitted our concerns to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Cabinet Secretary earlier this year, however as these concerns have not been adequately addressed, as a collective group of NGOs we will not to play a substantive role in the conduct of the inquiry.  


Read the full joint letter here

Read The Guardian article here 



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