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Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Hears Complaints Against United States

By David Swanson

Leading human rights organizations in the United States on March 20th presented charges of human rights abuse and torture against the U.S. government to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which can recommend actions, including prosecutions, to the U.S. government, other nations' governments, or the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Colleen Costello of the World Organization for Human Rights USA, Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) spoke at the hearing in Washington, D.C., on "Accountability for Violations of Human Rights in the United States."

The speakers presented evidence of torture and insisted on the need for prosecutions. A representative of the U.S. government defended torture, or rather the refusal to prosecute torture, or rather he avoided the topic while managing to speak at length. The career diplomat taking the stage for this Colin Powell moment was Lewis Amselem, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the Organization of American States (OAS).

The full video of the hearing is available at and is well worth watching. The written complaints filed with the IACHR will be posted at

Update: here's the powerpoint presentation.

Here is Colleen Costello's testimony:

And Michael Ratner's:


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