US group files complaint with UN over deportations
GENEVA: A US civil liberties group on Tuesday filed a formal complaint with a United Nations watchdog about the unfair arrest and detention of immigrants during an anti-terror security clampdown in the United States.
“Many languished in jail for several weeks and sometimes months, and the government refused to release them even after it knew they were innocent,” said Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The complaint lodged with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention marked the first time the ACLU had taken its struggle for immigrants’ rights in the wake of the September 11, 2002 attacks outside the United States.
The group said in a report entitled America’s Disappeared that it wanted to overcome the secrecy surrounding the detentions in the United States.
“Just as the US is crossing borders abroad in the name of security, we will cross borders in the name of justice to vindicate human rights abuses,” the report said.
The complaint was lodged on behalf of nine immigrants from Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Pakistan, who were detained, sometimes held in solitary confinement without access to lawyers, refused hearings and expelled often despite having settled livelihoods in the United States, the ACLU alleged.
The working group, one of the only UN bodies that examine complaints from individuals, has already issued a ruling accusing the United States of arbitrarily depriving two immigrants of their liberty following a case lodged in 2002. —AFP