25 March, 2011

Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Guidance on reporting torture etc.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)  has issued guidance to its staff working overseas about the reporting of torture or mistreatment which they may encounter in the course of their duties.   The guidance makes it clear that - "Every member of staff has an individual responsibility to report immediately allegations and/or concerns about suspected torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CIDT) that occurs overseas, so that such allegations and/or concerns can be acted upon appropriately."

The full guidance document may be read via the FCO website.

A relevant and interesting article appeared on the Open Democracy website - "Torture evidence: a secret between Britain and her allies" by human rights activist Aisha Maniar - 28th February 2011.   The article draws together a number of threads including the Binyam Mohamed case, the planned Green paper on the use of intelligence material in legal proceedings and the Gibson Inquiry into allegations of British complicity in torture.  In 2010 the British government reached a negotiated "without prejudice" settlement with a number of men who had been detained at Guantanamo Bay.  Details of the agreement have not been published and the men are subject to a confidentiality clause.

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