Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

France: 2014 in review

Read more

#THE 51%

South Africa: Taking a stand against child marriage

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

France 24’s best documentaries of 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'We have to build a new Tunisia', says the president of the Tunisian Parliament

Read more

FACE-OFF

France on alert after attacks: a case of collective hysteria?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Beijing needs to revaluate its policy in the Tibetan areas', says FM of the Tibetan government-in-exile

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Uruguay: freed Guantanamo detainees try to adjust to normal life

Read more

Americas

UN calls force-feeding 'torture' amid Guantanamo hunger strike

© afp

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-05-02

Force-feeding is "torture" and breaks international law, the UN's human rights office said Wednesday, as 100 of the 166 detainees at Guantanamo Bay continue a months-long hunger strike. Twenty-one inmates are being force-fed through nasal tubes.

Force-feeding hunger strikers is a breach of international law, the UN's human rights office said Wednesday, as US authorities tried to stem a protest by inmates at the controversial Guantanamo Bay jail.

"If it's perceived as torture or inhuman treatment -- and it's the case, it's painful -- then it is prohibited by international law," Rupert Coville, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights, told AFP.

Out of 166 inmates held at the prison at the remote US naval base in southeastern Cuba, 100 are on hunger strike, according to the latest tally from military officers. And of those, 21 detainees are being fed through nasal tubes.

FRANCE 24 reports on Guantanamo

Coville explained that the UN bases its stance on that of the World Medical Association, a 102-nation body whose members include the United States, which is a watchdog for ethics in healthcare.

In 1991 the WMA said that forcible feeding is "never ethically acceptable".

"Even if intended to benefit, feeding accompanied with threats, coercion, force or use of physical restraints is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment. Equally unacceptable is the force feeding of some detainees in order to intimidate or coerce other hunger strikers to stop fasting," it said.

That WMA ruling followed a 1975 declaration that artificial feeding methods should never be used without a prisoner's permission, and that a prisoner had the right to refuse all food if a physician considered the individual capable of "unimpaired and rational judgment" about the consequences.

Artificial feeding can be used if a prisoner agrees to it, or if the detainee is ruled unable to make a competent decision and left no unpressured advance instructions refusing it, according to the WMA.

The hunger strike, which is now into its 12th week, has upped the pressure on Washington to shut what President Barack Obama has called a legal "no man's land".

On Tuesday, Obama vowed to renew a push to close the prison, saying he did not want any inmates to die and urging Congress to help him find a long-term solution that would allow for prosecuting terror suspects while shuttering Guantanamo.

The inmates are protesting their indefinite detention without charges or trials at the facility, which was set up by his predecessor, George W. Bush, to hold those captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

(AFP)

 

Date created : 2013-05-01

  • USA

    Obama pledges new push to close Guantanamo

    Read more

  • GUANTANAMO BAY

    Medical staff heads to Guantanamo amid hunger strike

    Read more

  • USA

    Over half of Guantanamo detainees on hunger strike

    Read more

COMMENT(S)