United States :: Investigate and redress

For the first time, IACHR discusses compensation for victims of torture committed by the CIA

For the first time, IACHR discusses compensation for victims of torture committed by the CIA For the first time, IACHR discusses compensation for victims of torture committed by the CIA

Organizations from across the continent will stage a round table in Washington tomorrow, October 22, with experts to discuss the symbolic, political and practical impacts of the CIA torture program on the defense of human rights. The guests include Juan Méndez, the UN special rapporteur on torture, Claudia Paz y Paz, former Attorney General of Guatemala, and Reverend Fred Morris, a torture survivor from the Brazilian military dictatorship. (Read here the Revend Morris’ testimony)

The event precedes an unprecedented and historic hearing that will take place on Friday, October 23, in the IACHR (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the OAS). In this hearing, which will be attended by U.S. government authorities, civil society organizations will demand that the United States acknowledge its crimes and guarantee reparations to the victims of the torture program.

The two meetings will be broadcast live on the internet.

Click here to watch the round table (October 22, at 2 pm Brasília time).

Click here to watch the hearing in the IACHR (October 23, at 11 am Brasília time).

The discussion of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program gained pace in December 2014 following the disclosure, by a U.S. Senate committee, of fragments of a report that illustrated the severity and extent of the violations committed in the wake of the attacks on the Twin Towers, in the so-called “war on terror”. Prisoners – many of whom were never charged – were tortured, killed and sexually violated. To date, no formal apology has been made by the government and the victims and their families have not been compensated.

This situation has been harshly criticized by social organizations in the country, for which the impunity and the lack of acknowledgement of the crimes by the State sends the world a message of tolerance of serious human rights violations.


The debate on the crimes committed in the name of the “war on terror” has reached Brazil in recent months. During the state visit by President Dilma Rousseff to her counterpart Barack Obama in June, Brazilian and American organizations drew attention to the possibility of the Brazilian government helping close Guantanamo prison, in Cuba – a promise that Obama should deliver before the end of his term next year.

Brazil could, for example, take in prisoners who have already been cleared for transfer after a careful review of their cases. In total, 51 of the 114 men still in the prison complex are in this situation.

Click here to see the reasons why Brazil should accept men already cleared for release from Guantanamo.

During the event in São Paulo to launch the book “Guantanamo Diary”, by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, the former Human Rights Minister and current member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Paulo Vanucchi, said that “Guantanamo is the result of laws approved by the U.S. Legislative under the complicit eye of the UN and the world”. According to him, “an effort should be made for other countries to repeat what Uruguay did under Pepe Mujica – take in former prisoners”.

Click here to read a report of the Uruguayan experience with men released from Guantanamo.

According to Patrícia Campos Mello, a reporter for the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper who has visited the American prison, the idea of the threat to national security that was widely disseminated after the attacks on the World Trade Center ended up eroding the U.S. Constitution, which began not to be applied outside the country – leaving Guantanamo and the people held there in a type of legal “limbo”.

This legal issue, which has kept the detainees away from the courts, was addressed by Jessica Morris, executive director of Conectas, who said that “Obama has continued a number of misguided policies used by the Bush administration in relation to Guantanamo”. “We call on the government of the United States to release or charge the prisoners who are still there and for Brazil to take in these people,” she said.

Find out more

Receive Conectas updates by email