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UN counterterrorism expert urges greater clarity in US policies

UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism [official website] Ben Emmerson on Friday urged [press release] the Obama administration [official website] to provide more clarity on its counterterrorism policies. While Emmerson's office recently released a statement [text] strongly in favor of the new policies laid out in a speech by US President Barack Obama, this statement reiterates the need for more clarity and specificity in the administration's policies. Specifically, Emmerson is calling for more information surrounding the drone policies be released into the public domain. The statement comes after Emmerson finished a fact-finding mission in the administration where Emmerson met with lawyers at the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency and the President's National Security Staff.

The statement comes in reference to a speech [JURIST report] Obama gave in May. The Obama administration's counterterrorism projects have been highly criticized. In April Pakistan declared US drone strikes are illegal [JURIST report] and directed Pakistan's Foreign Ministry [official website] to introduce a resolution against such attacks in the UN. Also in April JURIST Guest Columnist David Frakt of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law argued that the Obama administration should release those detainees [JURIST op-ed] held at Guantanamo Bay who have already been declared to not be a danger to the US. Also last month UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] called for US authorities to close down the Guantanamo prison camp [JURIST report], emphasizing the continued indefinite incarcerations of many detainees as a clear violation of international law.

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