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UN rights experts say Bush detainee bill violates Geneva Conventions

[JURIST] A group of five United Nations human rights investigators told the UN Human Rights Council [official website] in Geneva Thursday that pending US legislation [text, PDF; White House factsheet] drafted by the Bush administration to clarify interrogation methods for terror suspects will breach Common Article 3 [text] of the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials], which bars "outrages on personal dignity" and "humiliating and degrading treatment." Earlier this week, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] defended the legislation again before Congress, saying that interrogators need clear guidance on acceptable practices [JURIST report] in order to effectively pursue counterterrorism measures, but the specifications have already raised concerns among US lawmakers that the scope of protection for detainees is actually being narrowed.

The group of independent envoys, speaking in a joint statement to the Council, also said that the US admission of secret prisons [JURIST report] used to house terror suspects suggests "very serious human rights violations." Reuters has more.

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