Human rights experts concerned about plight of Guantánamo detainees

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Guantánamo Naval Base

International human rights experts are calling on the United States to respect and guarantee the life, health and personal integrity of detainees at the Guantánamo Naval Base.

They made the call as 100 of the 166 detainees at the facility are reported to be on hunger strike and 21 of them are being force fed through nasal tubes.

The experts say they have received information about the severe and prolonged physiological and psychological damage caused by the detainees' high degree of uncertainty over the  basic aspects of their lives.

Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the UN human rights office in Geneva, says Untied States authorities are in breach of their international human rights obligations.

"In some cases this amounts to arbitrary detention essentially. Some people have been there for seven, eight, nine, ten eleven years without being charged, without being put to court, without being convicted, and that, really by any definition is arbitrary detention and arbitrary detention is clearly in breach of international law. But, obviously, it's not that simple. There are very complex issues. There are clearly some very dangerous people who are still being held in there, but you can't just set up something like this and keep it in perpetuity."

Rupert Colville says a new law brought by the United State Congress early this year which provides for the indefinite military detention without trial at Guantánamo Bay needs to be changed.

Donn Bobb, United Nations

Duration: 1'20"

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