Assurances Against Torture
AUTHOR: Deeks, Ashley S.
PUBLISHER: Council on Foreign Relations
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With the detention of thousands of people since the aftermath of 9/11, the United States has been faced with a difficult dilemma: detain those individuals indefinitely, release them in the United States, or send them home, where they are likely to face torture. To overcome this problem, the United States has sought "assurances against torture" from an individual's home country, promises that it will not torture the former detainee upon his return. Human rights groups and international organizations roundly criticize the use of these assurances, questioning their reliability and citing cases in which they have failed to prevent mistreatment. Congress has drafted several bills that would prohibit the United States from using them, but neither human rights groups nor Congress have offered viable alternatives.This report evaluates whether and how the United States can improve its use of diplomatic assurances so that they become a sustainable policy tool. It explores a host of important issues such as what assurances look like, when and why states have used them, and the human rights concerns about their use. It proposes policy prescriptions to address how the United States should alter its current approach to assurances that would improve their reliability and effectiveness.
PUBLICATION DATE: 7/31/2008
CATEGORY: Law, Political Science, Social Science