UN chief says US torture report should spur global action

AP News
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Posted: Dec 17, 2014 6:04 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Wednesday for an international debate on stamping out torture in the wake of the recent U.S. Senate report detailing brutal CIA interrogations of terror detainees.

The Senate report shows that torture is still taking place in many parts of the world even though 156 countries are parties to the U.N. Convention against Torture, Ban said at a news conference.

"It is a stark reminder that we still need to do much more to stamp out torture everywhere," Ban said. "The prohibition of torture is an absolute principle. There are no situations where it should be used, under any circumstances."

He commended the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report, saying "only by shining light on what happens in the dark area ... can (we) stop this torture."

The 525-page Senate Intelligence Committee report details horrific interrogation techniques from simulated drowning to improvised enemas. The report says the torture failed to produce intelligence that the CIA couldn't have obtained, or didn't already have elsewhere, even though the agency justified its methods and necessary to produce unique intelligence.

President Barack Obama has described the tactics, which occurred during the administration of George W. Bush, as torture. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who served under Bush, and top current and former CIA officials have disagreed.

Ban also said more must be done in 2015 "to counter extremism and the rise of far-right political parties that target minorities, migrants and in particular Muslims."

He said the U.N. is organizing a workshop in January in Nigeria "and I will consider what we can do with Pakistan and other countries." A Taliban attack on school in Pakistan on Tuesday killed 148 people, mostly young students.